Why the Nuggets traded Allen Iverson
While it was an intriguing experiment the first season and a half, it became clear that the Nuggets were not going to contend for a championship with AI and Melo. With Iverson in a contract year at age 33, Denver decided the risk of signing Iverson long-term was not worth it, especially as they try to avoid the luxury tax.
Why the Nuggets acquired Chauncey Billups
Billups is a better fit on this team than Iverson. He is a pure PG and it should not surprise if Melo averages close to 30 points this year now that Iverson isn't taking his shots. He is also a sound defensive player, and his penchant for the big shot should remind us of Sam Cassell's Milwaukee days. No more Iverson means no more Anthony Carter in the starting lineup, which is music to Denver's ears. J.R. Smith should be a starter now, and his size and age are very ideal for what Denver is trying to accomplish.
There is also the issue of money. Billups is making only 11 million this year, compared to Iverson's 21. While Billups has 3 years and 36 million left on his contract after this year, it's probable that Iverson would have been commanding even more than that in free agency. Denver also almost certainly gets some additional luxury tax savings from buying out Antonio McDyess.
One final reason: while Iverson is a former regular season MVP, Billups is a former Finals MVP. His championship experience and playoff resume far exceed Iverson's. He's been part of a winning program and one has to hope he will pass on some of that to Melo. Lord knows Iverson did zilch for Melo's maturation (and may have even hindered it).
Why the Pistons traded Chauncey Billups
Joe Dumars is eager to rebuild this team, and Billups' four year contract was not aiding matters (though his 4th year is a team option that would almost certainly be declined). Dumars is not afraid to make moves in the best interest in the franchise, and Billups value was only going to go down from here. Assuming Iverson is a goner next season, Rodney Stuckey is officially the PG of the future in Detroit.
Why the Pistons acquired Allen Iverson
Iverson's expiring contract along will be a great asset to the team. Along with Sheed's expiring deal, the Pistons will be able to be players in Summer of LeBron as they'll get to make a pitch for their arch nemesis, as well as their original nemesis (Wade), although the player they end up with is likely to be the player they should have drafted in the first place in 2003 (Chris Bosh). On the plus side, Dumars didn't mortage this season either and the Pistons will at least have an interesting angle en route to their annual playoff collapse.
Smith is finally out of Iverson's shadow and he should be poised for a breakout season.
Smith averaged 23.0 pts per 36 minutes last season, compared to Iverson's 22.8, so he is more than ready to fill the scoring void. He isn't the playmaker Iverson is, but that's what Billups is for. One would hope that Billups forces Smith to go to the basket more since Billups will be mostly a long jump shooter and will continue to be one as he ages.
So much for that trade to Denver, eh? I guess we know now why talks died weeks ago. This guy is officially screwed, as I can't imagine there being another team in the league willing to pick him up. With LeBron and co entering free agency in two years, never has a player picked a worse time to have a 3 year deal.
The Future of Denver
C: Nene (26) 3 years/31 million (or 4 years/43 million if he doesn't opt out)
PF: Martin (32) 3 years/47 million
SF: Anthony (24) 3 years/47 million
SG: Smith (23) 3 years/15 million
PG: Billups (32) 3 years/36 million
Denver has some huge commitments, but after the starting lineup nearly the entire team has an expiring contract or is working on a veteran's minimum contract.
I have to think this trade is the main reason Linas Kleiza didn't get the extension he was looking for a couple days ago. Kleiza may have to prove he belongs with this team, otherwise I have a feeling he could be dealt at the deadline.
The Future of Detroit
C: Wallace (34) 1 year/14 million
PF: Johnson (21) 2 years/7 million
SF: Prince (28) 3 years/30 million
SG: Hamilton (30) 4 years/44 million* (or 3 years/33 million)
PG: Iverson (33) 1 year/21 million
Maxiell (25) 5 years, 22 million (4 year/20 million extension recently signed)
Brown (26) 2 years/8 million
Stuckey (22) 3 years/6 million
Afflalo (23) 3 years/4 million
Other than Rip, the Pistons are a group of young, reasonably signed players. Stuckey will not be looking at a new contract until after the summer of 2010.
Speaking of Rip, he signed a contract extension shortly after the Iverson trade. I'm sure his conversation with Joe Dumars went something like this earlier today.
Rip: **** this I'm out.
Joe: How about an extension so you'll play good soldier?
I thought it was interesting that Rip's extension came after the team picked up Iverson, you would think there wouldn't be any pressure to get a deal done with your former top scorer when you just picked up one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. I guess this was to show fans they are committed to NOT re-signing Allen Iverson unless he plays ridiculously well with Rip (and even then, it'd probably only be a one year deal). It gives Rip slightly more job security, but let's not forget Billups was not too far into his deal before getting the axe. I'm guessing Dumars felt that at age 30 Rip is still capable of two more Riplike seasons before he has to sell high on him.
Rip also could have opted out at the end of this year, and Detroit wants around to at least have the option of deciding he fits in with the new look Pistons when that time comes. I don't know how serious the talk is, but there's word Hamilton could become the sixth man in Detroit and let Stuckey start with Iverson. I think that's something we look at maybe two years from now when he's a bit older, but not when he's 30 years old and still in the prime of his career.