Looking Back on the Iverson-Billups Trade

Robert MacDonaldContributor IApril 18, 2009

CLEVELAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Allen Iverson #1 of the Detroit Pistons moves past Mo Williams #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game on February 22, 2009 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.  The Cavaliers won 99-78.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

As an initial supporter of the Iverson for Billups trade, I have to admit that I was wrong.  There are still some obvious positives from the trade, but I expected so much more.  I almost would have preferred not making the playoffs, and having a chance at a lottery pick.

One thing that's true, no matter how you look at it, is that the Pistons have cut salary.  As great as Chauncey was for Detroit, and the Pistons, they weren't going to win the NBA title. They lost $20 million off the books just with Iverson leaving, not to mention other expiring contracts.

The Iverson experiment not working should be blamed most on Michael Curry, but it was not entirely his fault.  Coach Curry continuously handled the situation wrong. From starting Iverson and Rip, instead of Rip and Stuckey.  From starting Iverson over Rip.  It was one wrong move after another. 

I believe if Iverson hadn't hurt his back, he'd still be the starter now.

Having a strong supporting cast for once, I genuinely thought that Iverson could get past some of his "me first" attitude. As great a player as he still is, he was the only one who didn't think he should have been the Pistons sixth man. 

Even after returning from his injury, he thought he should have been doing much more.  It seemed pretty evident that he wasn't himself.

It would be hard to not lose respect for Iverson after the way he handled himself.  He said all the right things until his injury. He didn't stick to his word.  I firmly believe he hurt himself in his next contract.  Not that anyone particularly wants to give another $20 million to aging veteran. 

I wish Iverson well in his bid for an NBA title. Unless he joins a contender who doesn't have to sacrifice one of their great players to get him, I don't see him getting one.  For that, I do feel bad for him. Nobody has worked harder. I do hope he starts to realize his declining skills.