NBA / Nov 3, 2008 / 2:01 pm

Breaking down the Allen Iverson / Chauncey Billups trade

Allen IversonAllen Iverson (photo. Gary Land)

This morning’s reported trade has the Nuggets sending Allen Iverson to Detroit for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb. Breaking down the particulars:

Detroit gets: Versatility. Do you start Iverson at point, keep Rip Hamilton at the two and bring Rodney Stuckey off the bench? What about going small with Stuckey at PG, Iverson at SG, Rip at SF and Tayshaun Prince at the four? Or you could have a Stuckey/Iverson backcourt, keep Prince at the three and bring Hamilton off the bench as the second unit’s top scorer while Iverson leads the first unit. However coach Michael Curry wants to play it, Iverson’s ability to play the two or the one at an All-NBA level gives him greater options than he had with Billups, an All-NBA point guard but not so much as a two-guard. With Iverson’s speed, a small lineup featuring Stuckey, Iverson, Rip, Tayshaun and Jason Maxiell could run with the fastest teams in the League, while the Pistons still have the elements to play a slower half-court game as well.

Denver gets: More playoff experience. Billups has 117 postseason games under his belt, including one ring and two trips to the Finals. McDyess has 80 playoff games and one trip to the Finals. Iverson has 71 postseason games on his record, and more importantly, he hasn’t been out of the first round since 2003, whereas Billups and McDyess have grown accustomed to getting past the first round on auto-pilot.

Why Detroit did it: Billups is 32 years old and has $50 million left on a four-year deal, whereas Iverson has one year left at $21 million. Along with Rasheed Wallace‘s expiring $13 million contract, that’s a TON of cap space with which to go after ’09 free agents like Kobe or Carlos Boozer if they want. And in the meantime, Detroit can make one more good run with a veteran group. Also, don’t discount the added sense of urgency Iverson brings (think KG in Boston last year), since he’s the one without a ring and sees this as his last decent shot. The Pistons also REALLY like Stuckey and wanted to open up more minutes for him at point guard. In the season’s first two games he’d averaged 18 minutes, far below the 30 per night Curry promised. They also REALLY like Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell, and were willing to give up McDyess and open up more minutes for them.

Why Denver did it: They didn’t want to lose Iverson for nothing when he’s a free agent this summer. Billups is at least a comparable talent — and more desirable in some cases — so they’re not sending a message to Carmelo Anthony that they’re rebuilding, plus ‘Melo gets handed the mantle as primary scorer and offensive focal point, territory that A.I. had moved in on since the ’06 trade. The Nuggets also get a true point guard on both ends of the court, which allows J.R. Smith to start at two-guard and defend bigger players at that position, and moves Anthony Carter to his rightful place coming off the bench. At worst, Billups is a hometown guy (and McDyess is a former Nugget) who could temporarily distract from the fact this team might not be very good; at best, Billups is a better leader than Iverson who could direct them to the playoffs and help ‘Melo have a career year. George Karl gets a coach on the floor, McDyess helps shore up one of the weakest frontcourts in the League as a reliable double-double threat who plays D, and Cheikh Samb is a project with potential.

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  • Kayfah

    this is awesome, hope it works out though

  • QQ

    Denver will finally have a sense of direction.

    Detroit will not be THAT bad (people are basically saying they’re dead). Only question mark is how AI’s dominant ego will play out with the rest of the guys?

  • http://jimmimc.wordpress.com jimmhumm

    I like it for both teams. About time Detroit did something. Billips has been on the market for like 7 months. A.I. is a good pickup.

  • http://www.myspace.com/carli_borikua4life QuEsT???

    wow this sucks, i really liked the melo, iverson cmbination.

  • QQ

    And PS: Based on you’re comments on the previous article, you fucking lost all your crediblity, Fed.

    Now I understand all the haters.


  • nick

    denver now became very lethal from beyond the arc with billups, jr and kleiza

  • dagwaller

    Hahahaha. You can tell it’s a thorough write-up when we get a Cheikh Samb reference. Nice job, Austin.

  • ab_40

    nice can we pencil melo up for 30 ppg 7 rebs and 3 assists for the rest of the season now? cuz before ai came he was the no.1 scorer in the L then the suspension came etc. and to be real the west just got a little bit tougher. and the east well nothing changes it’s still boston, detroit and LeBron and some overrated players.

  • justice

    melo could phuck around and lead the league in scoring, this would also limit j.r’s dumb moments

  • http://www.peterrobertcasey.com Peter Robert Casey

    AI back in the Eastern Conference definitely makes things more interesting, especially for a team that can potentially contend for the chip.

  • control


    Maybe the 30 ppg, but I doubt Melo will be passing 3 times a game, let alone getting assists on 100% of his passes. He’s going to turn into a Zach Randolph type black hole player.

  • JarrJohnson

    Good move for both teams. Joe D gets future cap space at the very least. A.I. gets another shot at a chip with a perennial championship contender.

    Like the author pointed out, both Billups and Dice “have grown accustomed to getting past the first round on auto-pilot”. Will this make the Nuggets a legitimate title contender immediately? No. What it does do is change the climate of the franchise. You bring two vets with championship pedigree (one with a league MVP under his belt) into the locker room. This, at the very least, should have an immediate impact on the attitude of the young players, especially Melo who needs to learn how to “hate to lose”.

  • kg fan

    damn i want AI to win a ring but not with either of these teams

  • http://www.beacon-ballers.de B

    denverpost says McDyess will be bought out!

  • the_don_mega

    well, AI to the Spurs could’ve been big… count in the fact that Manu is out for some amount of time…

  • fallinup

    This season is AI’s best chance at a championship. I love this trade for Detroit. Stuckey gets minutes, and AI back in the eastern conference is all I needed to see.

  • Kudabeen

    Denver also gets a legit big time 3 point shooter that shots daggers in the heart of an opponent…

    Great trade. Pistons get brighter future and Denver gets closer to 2nd round.

    Can’t wait to get the reactions…

  • aj

    Detroit wins big in this trade. AI makes them legit in the East again.


    Woooow!!! It’s just an opinion bruh. What did Austin say that I didn’t sounds like he was on the same page. BTW Fuk The Haters cause thats all they gone ever be.

    Good break down I see you observed from the post that this was a hot topic. However during your article you left out the most important aspect, “who got the best of the deal”.

  • Kudabeen

    does McDyees go back to Detroit or jump on the Celtics, Orlando, Hornets?

  • Pskila

    Detroit is the top team in the East now…they just got to gel in the next two months…Paul Pierce don’t start crying yet …with your punk a$$$..lmao..

  • Kudabeen

    Both teams got better, but Detroit gets the better of the deal, because Sheed and Iverson are off the books after this year…If Sheed stays with the team…


    BTW sources say Denver doesn’t even want McDyess they did it for the numbers. They’re gonna release him and he’ll probably come back to Detroit. He said this is were he wants to play.

  • Buffalo Brave


    I really like the deal for the nuggs, remains to be seen how it works out for detroit.

    They have had trouble scoring previously, that’s gonna change.

  • ill1

    nice breakdowns guys i agree with it and this trade makes me happy



  • Sweet Jones

    horrible trade!!!

  • HATE08

    i say denver got the best deal out of this. they should be able to make it to at least the semi finals.

    vote barak ohateah!!!!

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @YOUNGFED — I think Detroit got the better of the deal, simply because they are still a legit championship contender (probably even moreso now) and for the down-the-line cap flexibility.

  • Scott

    This feels a lot like the first time Joe D was building the Pistons into a contender, remember the trades, the Sheed deal that had him suit up for one game in ATL.

    AI will definitely shakeup the Pistons squad, the only question is, since the trigger was pulled this early in the season, is Joe D done or does he have more he’s trying to do?

    And FYI, if AI could step up his assist game, you’ll start to hear comparisons between him and Isiah (the on the court version everyone loves, not the off-the-court version everyone loathes, heh).

  • control

    AI and Sheed being on the same team is ironic. They are the two most disappointing players in the league as far as fulfilling their potential…solely because they both refuse to fit into the role in which they’d be most effective(for the team).

    If AI played with 1/3rd of Steve Nash’s desire to make teammates better, he’d be the best point guard in the league, by far. He’d average 13-15apg with 20ppg on 55% shooting, only because teams wouldn’t triple team him, knowing he is going to jack the shot anyways.

    If Sheed played like a power forward, instead trying to be a poor man’s Dirk Nowinski, he’d be the most unstoppable power forward in the game. That guy could score 4 outta 5 times against any defender in the low post…of course he always starts jacking retarded 3s for some reason, which throws his team off and kills any offensive flow.

    If somehow both of these guys are brainwashed into going against how they have played their entire careers, and buy into the team concept…Detroit will be VERY impressive. The chances of that happening are so slim, it is almost not worth talking about.

  • Kobeef

    AI and Rasheed together…have there ever been two players on one team who have such a reputation for being “anti-establishment”. David Stern hates Detroit today.

    Think back to the dress code rule introduction – rasheed and iverson were a big part of the reason why stern created that rule…but the truth is that everyone loves rasheed and iverson so much that rasheed and iverson influenced a generation of style. It’s going to be really interesting to see how the culture of this team changes…practice?

  • Chaos

    the move is better for denver because it gives the team more identity and leadership. there were no unquestioned leaders on the team and no its really gives someone who can run the team on the floor and the other to finally realize true potential. billups can set the defensive tone while Dice can anchor the weak ass center position.

    Detroit did more a of a lateral move and doesnt really change much. rasheed and A.I. should have some interesting moments tho…

  • http://kr.youtube.com/watch?v=BuqD9XiMNv0 K Dizzle

    In other news, I grabbed JR Smith off the waiver wire so I win in the trade

  • http://www.myspace.com/carli_borikua4life QuEsT???

    hey dime who won the mitchell and ness jackets??? those were hot

  • MJAX

    The NBA is Fantastic!!!! A.I. in Detroit with Sheed and Rip..That’s firepower, and maybe Iverson becomes that motivating factor to “baller unleash” Rasheed, the best power forward in the game when he wants to be. All that coupled with Prince, Maxiell and Stuckey, while more than likely getting “Dice” back!!!! It should be all about the Pistons and the “C’s” in the east….

  • http://www.edthesportsfan.com SoulOnIce

    It makes Detroit better financially, but that’s about it, UNLESS UNLESS UNLESS Iverson conforms to the team, which I don’t know if he will do. If he goes in there, looking to get 25 a night, then this will not work, I promise. He goes to a better defensive team, but if they become brain-dead on offense, then this solves nothing.


    You do not know basketball bro AI plays beyond his potential if any thing. He normally doesn’t play point because most teams he’s on don’t have legit 2’s not the case here and anyone here who doesnt think he can pass don’t watch basketball or play.

    Do you think he can play point for the Pistons? I believe so.

  • Lady Luck

    Interesting (and surprising) trade. Detroit has a lot of interesting lineups to play with. What a fast backcourt! Denver gets a legit point who should help Carmelo, but if McDyess doesn’t stay, then I think they could have made a better deal where they received a big frontcourt player. I’m glad that AI went back east.

  • LakeShow84

    Denver got the best of this..

    Honestly, AI is ill and he is the best little scorer possibly EVER.. But what has he done?? He got to the finals but that was more Larry Brown with his whole team than just Iverson being Iverson.. After that its all playoff losses.. more so first round than anything.. Hes like Michael Vick, all action with no substance.. Plus his presence was hindering Carmello progress.. Melo didnt feel the pressure once AI got there which is actually a bad thing.. Melos good enough to beat that pressure but with AI there he can say screw it if he wanted..

    Denver gets someone who will defer CONVENTIONALLY.. AI defers but he needs the ball in his hands too much to be effective in the plus minus.. And the biggest part of it all is they get a GREAT defender at one of the most important positions.. Now they can give CP3, Dwill, Nash, etc. fits..

  • LakeShow84

    Too bad he cant stop Kobe and Bynum.. and Gasol and well maybe Lamar Odom..

  • Desrat

    These ballers are just trying to keep the attention on them instead of the pres. run.

  • QQ

    @post 19:

    Come on, Fed. That’s straight out trippin. I know he got traded, but at least show some loyalty. He WAS still a Piston minutes ago. Yall excited and shit, I understand.

    But to say that yall win the East for the guy Chauncey was traded for??? Thats straight out trippin, man. That’s giving fuel AND venom to all haters, ya heard.

  • jeremy

    denver just made the playoffs

  • control


    You can’t say that I don’t know basketball if you are thinking that AI doing what he is doing now is the best he could do. If that guy played like a TRUE point guard, you know…passing the ball and setting up teammates, which he has proved he can do (Olympic team), he can make his team win games because EVERYONE does better. Look at how Steve Nash has made his teams better, Nash ain’t looking to score 30ppg for himself, he’s looking to make Diaw look like an All Star.

    AI is so quick, reads defenses so well, and can pass as good as anyone in the game. His mind is fucked up though. He NEVER thinks of himself as a shoot last option, which is the mind set a truly great point guard has to have. He will look for his own at the expense of the team’s best play, and that is why he will never be a great player, and why he will never be a champion.

    BTW, I never said he COULDN’T pass, I said he WOULDN’T pass, huge difference. If you say that he willingly gives up the ball to teammates, then you lay down under a running car with your lips on the tail pipe for 20 minutes before watching basketball.

  • SayItIsntSo

    I agree with Austin that Detroit got the better of the deal. As much as people try to hate on Iverson, the guy has grown up alot and people dont give him enough credit. I, unlike some, watched Denver closely and Iverson tried to fit in with that team. The Nuggets need to take accountibility for trading for that guy when they know they weren’t ready to contend. I always thought that Iverson would be served better to get traded to a team with veterens that know how to win. And if he were to play next to younger players, it should be next to more unselfish ones like Lebron or Dwight Howard. Dont get me wrong, I like Melo off the court..but the dude is selfish and has an ego bigger then his game. I guess now he can have his ‘team’ back and shoot the ball 50 times a night again. I didn’t want to see Iverson go to another team, but having to watch Carmelo play the game makes my head hurt. Im glad Iverson gets to go to a team with a real GM that knows what he’s doing, AI should be taken care of well there with Dumars. Iversons contract comes off the books next season, and knowing Dumars..he’ll keep Iverson there for good because he’ll have more then enough cap space to do so plus go after other free agents. Also, Detroit has a more versitile line-up..the Nuggets did have one, but they are trading off all their pieces.

    The person I feel bad for is Billups, he goes from a legit championship contender to a pretender. Billups fit perfectly with the Pistons..and now he goes to the Nuggets and hopefully helps them.. but in the West, I dont see the Nuggets making it out tyhe first round..if they even make it there at all. This also doesn’t work out for the Nuggets money-wise it makes no sense.

  • Drink the Haterade (KB24 Chip 09)

    They had AI and Steph in the Olympics playing the one and two spots while Lebron , Melo and DWade sat on the bench… (AI and Steph think they are the best and never pass)That Olympic team lost… Then This Year ALL three won a Gold, guess who wasn’t on the team!

  • jeremy

    i don’t understand how detroit moves forward now. what’s their starting lineup? stuckey iverson prince johnson wallace? iverson hamilton prince johnson wallace? stuckey iverson hamilton johnson wallace? if the point was to get stuckey his minutes how is trading for another guard going to solve that. there is no way rip is going to happily come off the bench. there is no way a team starting stuckey and johnson gets past the 2nd round.

  • control


    That is a pretty broad assertion. Doesn’t really mean anything pertaining to anything being discussed right now.

  • Ian

    wow good luck billups making an allstar game now

  • Ian

    hate08 lol denver in the semifinals hahaha they prob wont even make the playoffs
    lakers spurs suns mavs jazz hornets rockets are locks if denver squeezes in as 8 they will get destroyed by any othe the other teams

  • BKhoops

    LoL @ 49


    only time will prove who’s right

  • Ian

    bk hehehe i mean comon man
    parker nash and paul have the position locked up for the allstar game throw in deron and baron things dont look good for billups.

    detroit got the best part by far not because they get iverson but because they are still contenders and will have alot of cap space next season. denver will still suck billups will get some parker nash deron davis paul for twice as many games now instead of playing tj ford tinsley and nelson in the east.

  • http://www.myspace.com/carli_borikua4life QuEsT???

    ian tu tenias un ps3 verdad? que juegos tienes ?

  • Ian

    tengo mas juegos sin abrir que abiertos por que compre nba live 09
    dead space
    fallout 3
    little big planet
    todas juntas y solo he podido jugar dead space

    cual es tu psn id para anadirte?

    viejos tengo
    drakes fortune
    assasins creed
    mlb the show 08

  • jeremy

    detroit’s championship run was based on team chemistry and not having 1 superstar but 5 integral parts. they just completely screwed that by trading their leader for a piece that doesn’t fit at all with the rest of their personnel.

  • Ian

    megaman 9 (wii) and castlevania order of eclessia (ds) are on top of my list hehehe

  • Drink the Haterade (KB24 Chip 09)

    @ Control you brought up the Olympic team iverson was on, not me

  • Phileus

    control, AI and Nash are totally different players. Nash is not, and never could be, the defensive player AI is and is not, and never could be, the scorer that AI is. AI isn’t a pure point guard like Nash, he’s a small shooting guard and that’s what’s made his career so amazing. His whole career he’s been smaller than everyone but better than everyone at his position.

    Yeah AI doesn’t get his team involved like Nash does, but Nash also can’t carry a team like AI can. The 2001 Finals Sixers were 75% Iverson’s heart, 20% Brown’s talent and 5% other Sixers. I mean look at that team. AI’s never had half the talent around him that Nash has had his whole career.

    You can joke about AI not passing but look at his assist totals in recent years.

    That said though I do think there will be chemistry issues with the Pistons. Not with the Nuggests, though.