What an awesome trade. Two teams badly in need of a shake-up pull the trigger on a deal that might take them to the next level, but in all honestly will just make the inevitable a little less so for most of the season. Still though, is there anything not to like about this deal for either side? Take a look:
- The Answer finally gets to play on a title contender for the first time in a few years, and not in a "Post-Knee Issues C-Webb" or "the 2006-2008 Denver Nuggets" kind of contender, either. A.I. is a free agent after this season, so he can choose where to go, but this will likely be the last time he is the alpha dog scorer on a top-notch NBA team.
- The Nuggets clearly have no worries regarding the salary cap, luxury tax or any of your so called "struggling economy," having locked up Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Nene' and Kenyon Martin to the tune of $56M through 2011. And only two of those players are worth more than $1M per season.
- Even still, the Nuggets were (are?) a mess. Their team is built too scoring heavy, and their salary structure is too top heavy. Therefore, their defense and bench blow like my ex-girlfriend after a coke binge. Bringing in Billups should upgrade their perimeter shooting and, while not a true pass-first point, he should distribute the rock more than Iverson did, allowing Carmelo to really come into his own as a scorer. Plus, Billups is a hometown boy, so thats always fun, and he desperately needs to make up for his last go-round with the Nuggets (12ppg, 3.5apg on crap teams). Their ceiling just went from "frisky first-round opponent" to "damn, I hope we can play them in the second round!"
- So, a pretty good deal for the Nuggets, but I love, love, love this deal for the Pistons. Not only do they get the best player in the deal, he fits in perfectly with this squad. He gives them the top-notch scorer they have lacked throughout this pseudo-dynasty and his style of play should complement and reinvigorate Rasheed Wallace, just in case his walk year wasn't enough. AI-Rip-Prince-Sheed-Amir-Stuckey-Hermann-Maxiell is a sick rotation, and very likely a FreeDarko wet dream, so I look forward to watching that crew in action.
- One man I left out of that rotation is Antonio McDyess, who apparently wants to return to Detroit via a buyout. The Nuggets have a different idea. This should be fun. I'm tempted to call it anyways, but you add McDyess back to the Pistons, and they're my pick for Eastern Champs. (More on that in our Eastern Conference preview)
- Finally, Iverson and Sheed come off the books after this season. Look at the Pistons cap space moving forward. Props to Joe Dumars for being proactive rather than getting nostalgic and allowing the same that won a title four years ago to grow old and ineffective together. With that cap room and some nice young talent, the Pistons look like contenders for a long time.