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On Monday, the Pistons traded Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Cheikh Samb to the Nuggets for star guard Allen Iverson. At first look, it appears the Pistons have pushed in all their chips and mortgaged thier immediate future for success this season. But, beneath the surface, it appears GM Joe Dumars has outsmarted us all…that is except for Danny Ainge.
Iverson is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $20.8 million, giving the Pistons much more cap flexibility than with Billups. With Rasheed Wallace also coming off the books at the end of the year, it appears the Pistons could be ready for a complete overhaul (they’ll have $21-22 million to spend). They signed guard Richard Hamilton long term on Monday as well, so it appears he will be the team’s initial building block (along with young PG Rodney Stuckey and SF Tayshaun Prince) for something much bigger.
They could bite in the 2009 offseason, with players like Carlos Boozer (if he opts out) expected to be available. Or, the Pistons could wait one year and dip into the talented free agent class of 2010, which is expected to include LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh.
So, it appears Joe Dumars is throwing the Pistons’ name in the hat of the teams most likely to land LeBron James. Would Rip Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey be enough for talent around perhaps the best player in the NBA? Where else could he find one…or maybe even two all-stars?
If you’re beginning to catch my drift…the Celtics, that’s who! Danny Ainge has already lined himself up to be ready for the free agent splash in the 2010 offseason. The Celtics could let Ray Allen go, which would save them $18,776,860 in cap space. They’ll probably also let Brian Scalabrine go, so that frees up another $3,413,793. So buy my count, with just two players lost, the Celtics will have $22,190,653 to spend.
Here are the only Celtics expected to be under contract for the 2010-11 season (according to HoopsHype.com):
One would assume that it would cost another 10-15 million to round out the bench, and Ainge will probably sign Rajon Rondo long term in the next two seasons. In all, he could have more than $20 million to play with in the deepest NBA free agent market I could ever remember.
Ainge set this up with last year’s trades for Allen and Garnett, and no one was talking about it because we had a win-now approach. Now, it appears that the Celtics are in very good position to land one of the prized free agents to pair with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, which could translate into numerous championships despite their advancing ages.
Who got the better deal in the Iverson-Billups trade?
Total Voters: 25