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Update: All Darko, all the time!

So first Marc Stein was convinced that the Darko/Arroyo trade was just about a done deal, right? But then Stein backtracked today in his online chat for ESPN Insider. Check this out:

Marc (Sterling Heights, MI): Do you think Joe Dumars' unwillingness to trade Darko has more to do with his pride and him not wanting to admit that he screwed up big time in that draft? If Darko can't play now for the Pistons, why would he be able to play next year or the year after that? Shouldn't Joe get this deal done ASAP?

Marc Stein: No. I think it has more to do with wanting to get as much as they can for Darko to feel like they got something of value in return for a No. 2 overall pick. Nothing Detroit gets in a deal is going to have an impact this season, so why not wait until the deadline buzzer to see if the offers improve? Cato and a lottery pick gives Detroit cap relief and a chance to draft someone else later, which helps the Pistons with their twin aims of re-signing Ben and finding a Darko replacement, but it's not out of the question that a better package surfaces next week or closer to the draft.

That doesn't sound like a man convinced that the deal is done, does it? Enough with Stein's waffling--let's go local.

A. Sherrod Blakely of MLive then chimed in on his blog that the deal was closer to 50/50, with Orlando hemming and hawing over the restrictions it wished to place on the draft pick to be included in the deal.

I was told less than an hour ago that the deal being complete was "50/50, at best."

As I wrote earlier, everything now rides on the Magic getting back to Detroit with specifics regarding that first round pick in June's draft. Orlando wants to protect it as much as possible, while the Pistons are holding out for what they hope will be a top-10 pick.

WDFN lept into the fray this afternoon, reporting that Joe had made his final offer to Orlando: Darko and Arroyo for Kelvin Cato and Orlando's unprotected pick in this year's draft. And they have just recently reported that Orlando has come back to Detroit saying that they want their pick lottery protected this season.

Where does this leave us? Who the hell knows, but Magic GM Otis Smith will be appearing live on Orlando's AM 740 at 5:00 pm EST. (Listen live here.) Maybe he'll shed some light on this madness.

Pistons close to deal that would end Darko experiment [ESPN]
Chat with Marc Stein transcript [ESPN Insider]
A. Sherrod Blakely's blog [MLive]