The swap sends Allen Iverson to be part of Detroit Basketball in exchange for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and some nameless center I won’t likely give a crap about in a few weeks. Is it a good addition on paper for both sides? Yes, in a very short term sense: the Pistons needed another offensive mover and shaker, and the Nuggets desperately needed a point guard that plays some type of defense. I love what Iverson brings to the game in terms of hustle and pure ability, but on a team that has no concept of defense whatsoever and too many players looking for shots, he was the likely chip to go, particularly in the last year of his contract.
But in what’s essentially a straight-up trade, Detroit gets the better end with a contract that will be off the books after the season and a chance to make serious runs at free agents from the class next year. It’s a trade that looks better for the team’s future, no matter how much attachment Pistons fans have to Billups, who has proved his worth as a playoff performer, and now returns to his hometown. (Disclosure: I got to meet Billups in his first go-round with the Nuggets and he just seemed like a super-nice guy.) But the George Washington HS product comes with a hefty contract that makes it look like Joe Dumars fleeced Mark Wankentien here. The Nuggets are going to face even more luxury cap trouble now, which is precisely the reason the gave away Marcus Camby for nothing to the Clippers.
So, for Denver, this trade is a mixed bag — it’s a better chance to make the playoffs, but it may screw them for the future. In the Pistons’ case, Dumars has lifted a player that could help a team get over the hump to another NBA Finals, if the talent left matches up with the rest of it on that team.