The Detroit Pistons and the Denver Nuggets have just finalized a deal which will send Allen Iverson to Detroit in exchange for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Cheikh Shamb.
After Detroit lost to the Boston Celtics in last year's Eastern Conference Finals, Joe Dumars said, "Make no mistake, everybody is in play now. There are no sacred cows here. You lose that sacred cow status when you lose three straight years."
The summer that followed was full of trade talk, but no move was made. The core (Billups, Wallace, Hamilton, Prince, and McDyess) was aging, so it was assumed one or two of them would be traded for younger players. Those players would complement the young Detroit players with whom the Pistons had suddenly fallen in love.
These players included Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell, but the favorite was Rodney Stuckey. After his emergence in the playoffs last year the organization envisioned him as the point guard of the future.
They still had Billups locked up for three more years after 2008-2009 though, so he was the favorite to be dealt. The idea of him being dealt for an aging superstar guard, however, caught everyone off guard. Iverson is already 33 years old and more importantly would keep a body in front of Stuckey on the depth chart.
Iverson has always been a great scorer, with 26.4 points per game last year. He can create his own shot and is arguably pound for pound the toughest player in the game. Defensively he cuts off the passing lanes well, but his one-on-one defense has deteriorated. Iverson is not as quick as he once was.
Does any of this matter, though?
Iverson has one year left on a deal that pays him just under $21 million this year, but it is the final year in the deal. Billups has another three years after this one. Another one of Detroit's core players, Rasheed Wallace, will also be a free agent after this year.
The Pistons have just under $35 million coming off the books this summer. Hamilton is the next up with his $11.375 million off the books in the 2010 summer. He will be 32 then and a decision will need to be made.
With the young nucleus combined with the holdover veteran, Prince, who will be 30, the Pistons put themselves in the running for the 2010 summer of LeBron.
The Pistons could have a nucleus of Stuckey, Prince, Maxiell, and Johnson and could make a run at one or two of the major free agents that year, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, just to name a few.
This year's team got the shakeup Dumars promised, and it seems will be better suited to pass the torch from the Billups, Hamilton, Prince, Wallace era to the next generation of Pistons.
Give it to Joe Dumars, he is not afraid to take chances.
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