|12-21-2006, 04:26 PM||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: SLC, UT
Bill Simmons on the Iverson trade
Kind of funny.
Tying up some other loose ends before we bang out the Week 16 picks and finish up some last-minute Christmas shopping ...
Jennifer Pottheiser/Getty Images
High atop the NBA lottery announcements ... a common location for Billy King.
• Remember my initial prediction that Sixers GM Billy King would only get 50 cents on the dollar for Allen Iverson? Turns out I was wrong: Philly landed a decent point guard (who's 30 years old, on his fourth team and makes $9 million a season, by the way), an expiring contract, and two No. 1's that will be in the mid-20s and late 20s of next year's draft. That's actually 35 cents on the dollar.
If you don't care, skip to the next part of the column. If you do care, allow me six comments on one of the most lopsided trades for a superstar in NBA history:
1. Maybe the 2007 draft is super-deep (by the way, they said that in 2001 and 2005 as well), but the fact remains, you know who will be making those late-round picks for the Sixers? One of the worst GMs of this decade ... Billy King! How does this not get mentioned? What good are first-round picks if you have an incompetent GM who's probably going to screw them up?
2. Philly should have traded Iverson last summer and stupidly held onto him when everybody KNEW they stunk and he'd end up flipping out before Christmas. What was the point of holding onto him? Well, other than to delude your season-ticket holders into re-upping for another season before dealing your best player and going into full-fledged "Tank For Oden" mode. Sleazy move to stick it to your fans like that.
3. If the Sixers' ultimate goal was to swap Iverson for young players, draft picks and cap space, why not deal with Boston then? Considering how badly Boston wanted Iverson, they would have agreed to any trade not involving Pierce or Jefferson (even a trade with multiple first rounders) ... but we'll never know because Philly didn't want to trade with someone in their own division. Which sounds good on paper, until you remember that Philly will be rebuilding for the next 3-4 years. Who the hell cares who's in their division then? Ludicrous.
4. King made a point of saying that the trade will help Philly's cap space problems this summer and down the road. First of all, you created those problems, Billy. You were the one handing out gigantic contracts and trading for Webber, right? Second, Miller (again, a decent guard, but certainly not an All-Star and someone who Denver was offering around for three years) makes $32 million over the next three seasons. That contract is helping your cap space problems? And third, who cares if you might help your cap space problems when you'll just use the cap space to hand out another ridiculous contract? I want to throw up. And I don't even like the Sixers.
5. Should an NBA team be allowed to give away its best player when it's playing in such a sports-depressed city? For instance, reader Joe Klinicki felt obligated to send me this e-mail this week: "I just read your 'Rocky' review and realize you are a Rocky fan and all, but you don't know what it's like to be a Rocky fan in Philadelphia. It takes the whole sports movie thing to a new level. Couldn't you have just told us that the new Rocky movie was the greatest movie of all time? Right now we've got nothing. A (hopefully) playoff bound team, but not a true Super Bowl contender, the worst team in basketball, the worst team in hockey and a baseball team whose major offseason upgrade to protect Ryan Howard was adding Wes Helms. We need the Rocky Balboa movie to be great. Without it, I don't doubt that the whole city will eventually collapse upon itself when the Eagles are out of it. I'm sure of this. 'Rocky Balboa' is our only chance at ever seeing a winner. Next time, please just lie to us. Thanks."
6. The timing of this trade was a little fishy, right? The NBA gets bad press for three straight days after the Knicks-Nuggers fight as the Sixers patiently hold on to Iverson and avoid rushing at the 35-cents-for-a-dollar deal on the table. Suddenly, Tuesday rolls around and King jumps on the same Denver offer that had been sitting there for 7-8 days, making the Iverson trade a top story, knocking the brawl off the front pages and changing all the Melo stories from "Is Melo a thug?" to "Can Melo and Iverson play together?" Hmmmmmmmmm. Did they get a little, um, nudge from the Commish? I guess we'll have to wait and see if the old frozen envelope trick happens during the Oden lottery next spring.
(And yes, I'm kidding. Kind of.)
As for Iverson playing in Denver, I still say it's the wrong team. He needed a team with an established star. Established stars are hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to win; younger stars are hell-bent on establishing that they're the man. I just can't see Melo deferring to A.I. when his professional career has centered around getting revenge on everyone who didn't believe in him -- Joe Dumars passing him up for Darko, everyone heaping praise on Wade and LeBron as rookies, Larry Brown burying him in Athens, last February's snub from the All-Star Game, and even the media handing over last summer's World Championship to LeBron and Wade and mentioning Melo only as an afterthought. Every time, he proved them wrong. And just as he's emerging as a true superstar, he has to share the spotlight (and the ball) with Iverson? I'm not ruling it out, but it's certainly not a slam dunk.
On the flip side, Denver HAD to make the trade. When you can upgrade from Miller to Iverson for the cost of some luxury tax dollars and two late first-rounders, you do it. I mean, if this trade had happened in my fantasy league, not only would I have protested it, I probably would have resigned from the league. In the past 25 years, this was the most lopsided trade involving a superstar other than Phoenix getting Charles Barkley for the Hornacek/Perry/Lang pupu platter. You should not be able to get a top-15 player at the tail end of his prime for 35 cents on the dollar. Period. And that's why you'll be watching Billy King sitting in Kiki Vandweghe's seat on "NBA Fast Break" in about nine months. I just hope he's sitting next to Theo Ratliff.