Lightning did not strike twice for Joe Dumars.
After the Detroit Pistons' President of Basketball Operations traded fan-favorite Grant Hill away for a couple of no-names in 2000, people questioned his decision.
Dumars was a hero.
After coming up short of a championship four years in a row, he pulled off a second questionable move. This time he sent another fan-favorite Chauncey Billups—Detroit's "Mr. Big Shot"—to Denver for the baggage-laden Allen Iverson.
This time Dumars' risk was not rewarded.
Instead, Iverson struggled to fit into an offense that did not feature him, but rather needed ball movement and motion. Now, the former NBA most valuable player has been officially shut down for the remainder of the season, regardless if the fading Pistons can hang on and slide into the playoffs.
Billups, on the other hand, has been the missing link for the 50-win, playoff bound Nuggets.
Trading a fan favorite is risky business, especially when a team is already having success. Just ask the cross town Detroit Tigers.
Less than two years removed from a World Series appearance, Tigers hometown hero Brandon Inge was made expendable by the acquisition of Miguel Cabrera from the Florida Marlins.
There was talk of dealing Inge's inflated salary, and the fans responded. A career .237 hitter created enough uproar to make the Tigers' management reconsider.
Inge returns this year as the Tigers' starting third baseman, partially as a result of Cabrera's inability to field the position. Fan favorite or not, keeping Inge around proved to be a good idea.
Granted, Dumars freed up the remainder of Billups' four-year, $46 million dollar contract and Iverson's salary of nearly $21 million will come off of the books after this season. But, is salary cap space worth risking a once great team not making the playoffs?
The Allen Iverson trade will go down in Pistons history as a complete and utter failure.