Is everybody on the Nuggets on the trading block? Looks that way. After an offseason in which Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith each had more trade rumors attached to their person than tattoos, now Chauncey Billups‘ name has surfaced as a player Denver may be looking to deal.
Billups is 34 years old, he makes $13 million this season, and he’s struggling early (13.8 ppg, 4.7 apg, 34% FG) as the Nuggets have been unimpressive at 7-6 while the constant ‘Melo trade talk seems to sap the team’s morale. Whether they trade ‘Melo soon or let him leave in free agency in 2011, the Nuggets are looking poised for rebuilding — a plan in which Billups wouldn’t fit. So which teams could benefit the most from landing Chauncey?
1. L.A. Clippers
The deal: Billups for Baron Davis
Clearly the Clippers have talent; they just need a leader to guide them in the right direction and maximize that talent’s strengths. Chauncey can bring out the best in Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu, and Eric Bledsoe would be a good backup for him similar to Ty Lawson in Denver. Baron Davis has already worn out his welcome in his hometown. Running a track meet in Denver for a fake contender with minimal expectations? Right up his alley.
2. New York Knicks
The deal: Billups for Eddy Curry and Wilson Chandler
This is as good as the Knicks could hope to get for Curry’s contract, and they have Landry Fields waiting in the wings to do a lot of what Chandler does for them now. Adding Chauncey to the mix with Amar’e Stoudemire automatically makes the Knicks a playoff team in the East. The Nuggets get a big expiring contract and a future fill-in for ‘Melo.
3. L.A. Lakers
The deal: Billups for Andrew Bynum
The defending champs are already stomping everybody without Bynum, so is he really untouchable? If you have a chance to upgrade at PG from Derek Fisher to Billups and secure another one or two more championships now at the expense of losing Bynum, who maybe will be a franchise player later, don’t you have to do it? The Nuggets get a young potential star who they can develop and gives fans something to be optimistic about.
4. Detroit Pistons
The deal: Billups for Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon
“Let’s just make it like it was. Let’s be a family. Let’s make it like it was. F*** them cars and them b****** and all that s***! F*** that s***! Let’s do us, me and you. Let’s be a family again.”
5. Orlando Magic
The deal: Billups for Jameer Nelson and Marcin Gortat
Jameer is good, but Chauncey is better and he gives the Magic a better shot at a championship in 2011. Orlando can afford to part with Gortat since they have Brandon Bass to help out Dwight Howard in the middle. Jameer — something of a poor man’s Chauncey — would be a solid PG for Denver, and Gortat provides depth for their injury-depleted front line.