Stephen A. Smith is reporting on Sportscenter that a HUGE deal is near completion in Detroit. The Pistons will reportedly send Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess to Denver in exchange for Allen Iverson.
My first instinct is to say I like the trade. AI is still a go-to scorer who is as hungry as anyone in the league for an NBA title. He can play both guard spots, and with Rip Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey will form one of the most potent backcourt rotations in the league.
The trade, if it goes through, is bittersweet. Chauncey has always been a fan favorite, and it's always tough to see an NBA Finals MVP go. However, he is going to his hometown team and a playoff contender, so as a Pistons fan I'm happy for him.
This is definitely a huge vote of confidence for Stuckey, Amir Johnson, and Jason Maxiell, all of whom are in line to play even bigger roles with the team if this trade goes through. Losing Ben Wallace to free agency was one thing, but trading Chauncey really signals the beginning of the end of the old guard (the core of the team that won the 2004 title) and the start of the youth movement in Detroit.
More on this later, after it is (and IF it is) confirmed.
UPDATE: Tom Ziller at the Fanhouse posts another reason why this deal makes a whole lot of sense for Detroit:
This deal isn't about tomorrow or April, though: it's about July. Iverson is a pending free agent, while Billups and Antonio McDyess will take up $19 million of cap space next season. If Dumars lets A.I. flee and fails to re-sign aging forward Rasheed Wallace, the Pistons will be looking at upwards of $20 million in cap space in the summer of 2009. The free agent crop is solid -- not replete with superstars, but solid. Lamar Odom, Shawn Marion, Hedo Turkoglu, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, Ben Gordon ... there's a chance Dumars could pick up two of those guys with all his space. (UPDATE: Rip Hamilton could also opt out this summer, if he wants to pass up $11 million in exchange for long-term security. That'd give Dumars more than $30 million to play with.)Don't doubt Joe D. This move doesn't severely cripple the Pistons' chances this season (in my opinion), and gives up a hell of a lot more flexibility down the road. If we pick up a superstar or two in a couple of years, this will be looked at as possibly the best personnel move Dumars has ever made.
Or -- and here's the scary thought for non-Pistons fans -- Dumars could let the freedom ride til the summer of '10, when Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire hit the market. Atonement for the '03 draft debacle, perhaps?
UPDATE 2: Damn, take a nap, and things get all official. Yes, this trade is actually happening, and there's seemingly hundreds of reactions out there on the internets already. True Hoop loves the deal for Detroit. So does Ball Don't Lie. Kevin Sawyer at DBB is less enthused (still waiting to see what Matt thinks). ESPN's Chad Ford and John Hollinger weigh in, as does Keith Langlois at True Blue Pistons. Also, Dave Dial at MLive's Full Court Press blog has a great breakdown of the salary cap ramifications of the deal, as well as a list of potential free agents for next offseason, if Detroit chooses to use its cap space on the class of 2009.