Acquiring Iverson not ‘The Answer’ for Detroit
Blockbuster deal doesn't make sense for Pistons
Published: Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2012 15:07
Losing three straight times in the Eastern Conference Finals would make any team search for the remedy to get them to the NBA Finals — just ask the Detroit Pistons.
A trade took place early Monday between the Denver Nuggets and the Pistons as point guard Allen Iverson was sent to Detroit in exchange for point guard Chauncey Billups, power forward Antonio McDyess and prospective center Cheikh Samb.
It was made known later that McDyess' contract will be bought out by Denver and he will re-sign with Detroit.
My initial reaction was the same one I have with every blockbuster trade: shocked.
Maybe I shouldn't have been as shocked since trades involving star players have become common in the NBA since last season — Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers; Jason Kidd to the Dallas Mavericks; Shaquille O'Neal to the Phoenix Suns — but you can't blame me.
Iverson is one of the most dangerous scorers to ever suit up in the NBA, averaging 27.7 points per game over his career — good for third all-time behind Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.
Not to mention he was the 2001 NBA Most Valuable Player, won the All-Star Game MVP twice in his eight trips and owns an NBA Rookie of the Year award.
He is undoubtedly a prolific player, but the reality is that this trade hardly benefits the Pistons.
Iverson, 33, is an aging guard who has played much of his career with so much tenacity and aggression that injuries have taken a toll on his body.
He is also an undersized defender, which does not appear will bode well for the defensive-minded Pistons. Billups has a much larger body frame and fit the team dynamic perfectly in Motown.
Also, controversy has followed "The Answer." Iverson has a history of dysfunctional relationships both on and off the court and has feuded with coaches in the past. There is no reason to believe that things like this won't happen again.
To make things more interesting, Iverson is owed $20.8 million for this season alone. Fortunately for Detroit, this is the final year of his contract. The team will have salary cap space — something that every franchise strives for.
With this they can do one of two things: 1) re-sign him to a multi-year contract or 2) let him go and begin to develop their youthful players such as guard Rodney Stuckey while signing a free agent to add depth to their lineup — LeBron James anyone?
On top of all this, they lose their point guard Billups, who was a significant factor in Detroit's 2004 championship.
He has hit countless big shots — which has presumably led to the nickname "Mr. Big Shot" — and was named captain of the Pistons because of his leadership abilities.
The Pistons organization commented on the move shortly after the deal was finalized.
"We just felt it was the right time to change our team," president of basketball operations Joe Dumars told The Associated Press. "Iverson gives us a dimension that we haven't had here and we really think it's going to help us."
Yeah, they will get a "dimension" that they haven't had in the Motor City, but getting rid of their team leader and primary piece during an NBA title run in Billups?
This trade is such a high-risk, high-reward deal and it very well could work out for both teams. But does Detroit really believe this move will help them win now?
This trade was not the "The Answer."