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Why Iverson Makes Sense for Detroit's Future

Nov 3, 2008 – 12:10 PM
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Tom Ziller

Tom Ziller %BloggerTitle%

Has Joe Dumars lost his dang mind? I assume that was an early thought for most NBA heads upon hearing at first hearing of the Chauncey Billups-Allen Iverson swap, briefed by Brinson moments ago. Breaking up a championship contender, shipping off your best player and your sixth man for a 33-year-old volume scorer? Isn't this conceding a challenge of Boston's Eastern reign?

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.)

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? The common fan won't see this trade as submission (A.I. keeps a good reputation), so even a massive change-of-direction like this keeps Dumars' nose clean in the papers. These deal won't get Dumars the '08-09 Exec of the Year award, but it just might cinch up a future trophy.
Filed under: Sports