The Detroit Pistons have reached a tentative agreement to trade Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson. Neither player was at this morning’s shoot-around. Team officials said that more information would be forthcoming later today.
UPDATE: Our man Wojnarowski is saying the deal will be completed within the hour.
UPDATE 2: According to Detroit Bad Boys, Cheikh Samb is being included and “AI and Billups are both telling friends they expect the deal to go down today.”
My esteemed ETB colleague and Detroit native Brian Spencer will have a more thorough breakdown of the trade in the next day or so, but a few immediate reactions to the colossal swap. First, wow! What happened between this summer and now that allowed Joe Dumars to finally pull the trigger on this deal? Detroit started the season with nice home wins versus the Pacers and Wizards, so I wonder where the urgency is coming from. An in-season trade isn’t ideal, and it would have been better for both teams if they could have gotten this deal done before camp and preseason action.
Still, Pistons fans have to be pumped right now. Iverson is a legit superstar and Chauncey was looking increasingly creaky. AI is coming off one of the finest seasons of his career in Denver and despite being a 33-year-old has plenty left in the tank. Billups is a year younger, but broke down last season and it’s been a few years since he’s shown Mr. Big Shot form in the postseason.
McDyess’ steady play and veteran leadership will be missed up front in Detroit, but the Pistons have two young bigs chomping at the bit in Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell. Both of them, along with free-agent acquisition Kwame Brown, will now be leaned on heavily for the remainder of the season. If either J-Maxx or Amir is available in your fantasy leagues, scoop them up ASAP. Although Denver may buy out McDyess – allowing him to re-sign with Detroit.
Out in Denver you have to wonder just what the game plan is. After giving up starting center Marcus Camby in the offseason they’ve now unloaded the second member of their Big Three from last season. Billups has over $36 million remaining on a contract that will take him through the 2010-11 season, so it doesn’t look like a move toward full rebuilding. What direction, exactly, is this franchise heading in? Then again, perhaps a pure point is needed to get the most out of J.R. Smith, Nene, Carlemo and Kenyon.
Iverson should assume point-guard duties for the Pistons. He’s never been a natural point, but he’s more than capable of filling the role. AI will also have help from stud-in-waiting Rodney Stuckey, who could see more minutes running the show – though his overall minutes may not increase significantly just yet. If Iverson bolts next summer it does clear the way nicely for Stuckey as the team’s PG of the future. Out in Denver expect J.R. Smith to continue lighting it up from all over the floor while Anthony Carter is much more likely to lose minutes to Billups.
Meanwhile, Allen Iverson will make nearly $22 million this season, the final of his contract, which will create massive cap space for the Pistons next summer. Rasheed Wallace’s $13.7 million also comes off the books after this season. Rip Hamilton has two years and nearly $22 million left on his contract. It looks like they’re making one more run for a title this season before taking apart the team. It should be a wild ride, enjoy it Pistons fans.
UPDATE 3: And with regard to salary cap relief, Nathaniel Friedman asks, could this legitimately put the Pistons in the LeBron sweepstakes?
Chauncey Billups Photo Credit: Icon SMI