We’re accepting nominations for the worst trade of the last five years. The conventional wisdom was the Pau Gasol trade, but it turns out Memphis did okay in that deal. So who’s next?
How about 17 months ago when Joe Dumars traded Chauncey Billups to Denver for Allen Iverson? Denver becomes instant contender in the West, while Detroit starts its dance with mediocrity.
Billups looks back fondly on his days in Detroit, as he told Chris Tomasson of Fanhouse. He also realizes the current team is not only bad but has no relationship to the city
“I don’t think they (Pistons brass) ever thought that I would have done what I’ve done nor they do what they’ve done,’' Billups said of having earned two All-Star berths with the Nuggets and leading the team to the last spring’s Western Conference finals. “I don’t think they ever thought that.’'
“When I was there, we embodied the city of Detroit,’' Billups said. “Tough and rugged, like blue collar. Our team embodied that so the city got behind us. And that’s how we played. We hung our hat on stopping teams and offense just kind of happened. We had great players. You just don’t see that same commitment. You don’t see that desire with the team they have right now.’'
Of course, the reason Dumars made that deal was to get cap space, to start the rebuilding of the Pistons. He then turned around and spent that money on shooters without defense in Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. The result is a Pistons team that is not only bad but has little roster flexibility for the next few years. What you see is what you get.
So here’s a bit of advice to GMs out there: If you team has made the conference finals five straight years and won an NBA title -- don’t mess with it. Seems simple enough, but sometimes the urge to be smart and ahead of the curve is too great.