Monday, November 3, 2008

The Answer for Detroit?

After all the rumors, it has been finalized. Allen Iverson will head back to the Eastern Conference this time as a member of the Detroit Pistons, while Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Cheick Samb will head to the Western conference and the Denver Nuggets. This is the second trade for Iverson in the last 2 years. Could this trade possibly be what Pistons GM Joe Dumars was referring to when he stated he would be "shaking things up"? Billups returns to his home state of Colorado, and McDyess returns to the team he began his career with from 1995-1997 where he had his best years as a pro.

Kay: Wow. I did not see this one coming. Based solely on talent, Iverson is probably an upgrade over Billups. He's a legit 30 point scorer, that can create his own shot and take over games in the clutch. And he seems to have aged better than Billups who seems a step slower since his Finals MVP award. I have concern about how well Iverson will jive with the rest of the team and whether he will sell into the whole team concept. But Iverson is hungry to win a title, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt. This could be the blockbuster trade that elevates the Pistons to the Finals, similar to Rasheed Wallace a few years back.

It does bring up some interesting questions however. Neither Iverson or Stuckey is true PG. Will the lose of Billups negatively hurt their ball movement and offensive execution? If they elect to start an Iverson and Stuckey backcourt (which is undersized), who goes to the bench: Hamilton or Prince? One of those players is not going to be happy. If Iverson starts and continues to play like 35-40 minutes that will greatly hamper Stuckey's development. Neither Iverson or Billups are defensive stoppers; I'd say their defense is roughly the same, right?

It's also worth noting that Iverson is in the last year of his contract. So he becomes a free agent at the end of this year. This gives the Pistons some salary flexibility. They could elect to either resign Iverson at a discount or go after some other free agents. Meanwhile, Billups had 3 more years on his contract after this one (at a cheaper price than Iverson, though). It is rumored that McDyess will be bought out and will return back to the Pistons, so his inclusion in the trade is moot.

Why would the Nuggets do this? Billups is a true PG and will bring some much needed stability and leadership to this young team. Previous to this they were starting Anthony Carter, probably the worst starting point guard in the league. Now they can slide JR Smith to the starting position and go with an explosive offensive team. Denver had elected to not extend Iverson's contract, so it's clear that he was not in their team's future. So the Nuggets needed to trade him away and get something in return, rather than see him walk away. Could they have gotten something better? Maybe. But Billups is not bad.

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