The Allen Iverson/Chauncey Billups trade

Update: The Nuggets and Pistons have agreed to the trade. Allen Iverson will be traded to Detroit in return for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Cheikh Samb.

(Disclaimer: This post was written about 14 hours prior to the deal actually going through.)

The Nuggets have reportedly offered Allen Iverson to the Pistons in exchange for Chauncey Billups according to ESPN.

Both these clubs toyed with a trade this summer except Denver wanted to get rid of Carmelo Anthony. This time, the deal can't be better for both teams. For Denver, they are getting Chauncey Billups, an area they clearly need help at. Billups is a strong guard who can hang with the best of the Western Conference. He can defend the upper echelon of point guards like Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Baron Davis, and Steve Nash. A lot of people say that he is in the decline in his career, but he can't be anymore in a decline than Iverson is. He will bring defense, another thing the Nuggets lack, and a leader who can control the ball. He would also at minimum, maintain their playoff hopes, and at best increase those hopes. It also seems like a perfect fit for Carmelo. The offense will be able to run through Melo instead of having to share the ball with Iverson. Nuggets fans might be worried about scoring, because Billups has averaged about 6 points less than AI in this very young season. That discrepancy is nothing to worry about since Billups will probably be able to make up for that with defense and keeping the opposing point guard down. Billups does average about an assist more than AI, .5 steals more, 3 more rebs, and 1.3 less turnovers than AI. The averages may move up or down in either direction, but you can almost know that they will give you solid contributions every night. Billups also wouldn't mind going back to his home town of Denver.

If you are Detroit, you get a player like Iverson. Known for being one of the league's most durable players. An MVP, multiple scoring titles, countless All-Star appearances, great marketing capacity, and the coveted expiring contract. AI is due to make $21.9 million this year. The salary cap is set at $58.6 million this year and the Pistons have $67.8 on their payroll this year. That translates into about $18 million in luxury tax. Allowing that $21.9 to come off their books plus Rasheed's $13.6 from free agency this summer, that will mean they will have $35 million coming off their payroll this summer. They would have about $26 million to spend under the salary cap for free agency (assuming they don't re-sign AI and Rasheed, of course). That is big time money. A big time way to get into the free agency market. The Pistons should be salivating at this deal. They would make tons of money off of ticket and merchandise sales because of the star power Iverson brings. They are a proven franchise that can win, which AI will love because of how competitive he is. The Pistons will still be able to compete in the Eastern Conference at the same level, maybe even higher because of everything he brings to the table. AI will also have an incentive to compete because as he enters the twilight of his career, he wants to play at a high level in this contract year so he can secure that last big contract before retirement. It works all the way around for both teams, so far.

The last piece is the matching salaries. AI is due to make $21.9 million and Billups is due to make $11 million. The NBA rules dictate that salaries in a trade must come within 125% of each other. So in this case, the Pistons would need to add another player to the deal. I thought about throwing Kwame Brown into the deal because of his $4million and a draft pick to make it work, but the Nuggets would not bite on that. Detroit may even be reluctant to offer that because apparently the Pistons organization is very fond of the way Kwame has been playing (who knew?). Even if they were willing to part, the Nuggets would most likely be very reluctant to accept Kwame's deal, and also be skeptical about his ability to play against Western Conference centers (they saw what happened with the Lakers). The other choice for the Pistons would be to add Tayshaun Prince into the deal. CLEARLY, this would never happen. The Pistons have every intention to build around Prince for the future, so that would be completely out of the question although that would add up almost exactly to AI's salary. Another option for the Pistons would be to add Antonio McDyess into that, but he makes a bit above $6million and is signed until the summer of 2010, a prospect that probably would not excite the Nuggets for the same reason putting Kwame into the mix. Joe Dumars probably would not do that out of fear of having to start Kwame Brown (they aren't THAT fond of him). So the Pistons are stuck in a tough spot. Who else can they throw into the mix that will make the salaries work? They need to figure out how they can put together a deal that the Nuggets will accept. This is in the best interest for both teams assuming Detroit puts together the right complement alongside of Billups. In a perfect world, a straight AI for Billups swap would leave both teams better off for the future. It can be assured that Joe Dumars and Mark Warkentien will be on the phone a lot in the coming days. Fans of both teams should keep their fingers crossed.



Christopher said...

you forgot to mention that Chauncey is from Denver and is just about the only CU Buff in the NBA - he would be the most popular athlete in Colorado.

Anonymous said...

True Hoops says that Dumars is opening up room 2010 for a run at Bosh and/or LeBron by renting Iverson for a year, and then his salary comes off the books. That said, Billups is great guys and its nice to see him heading home at least.

Meanwhile us Suns fans are adjusting to this new brand of smash-mouth Porter ball. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb4lkUvxdhE

Izzy said...

In response to christopher: "Billups also wouldn't mind going back to his home town of Denver." I apologize if that was not in the first version you read. I actually posted the entry, and then made a few changes to it, so that detail might not have been in the original version. Thank you for pointing that out though.

In response to the second comment, that is very true, but at this point is seems like Detroit is going to go after Bosh more so than Lebron just because Lebron is most likely headed for the two New York teams. Billups is a great fit for the Nuggets, and there are reports that Antonio McDyess is not going to want to be a part of the Nuggets.

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