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Old 12-21-2006, 03:26 PM   #1
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Default Bill Simmons on the Iverson trade

Kind of funny.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2...simmons/061221

Tying up some other loose ends before we bang out the Week 16 picks and finish up some last-minute Christmas shopping ...

Billy King
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.
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Old 12-21-2006, 03:41 PM   #2
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BILLY KING IS AN IDIOT!

I told you this before, and I will tell you again.

BILLY KING IS AN IDIOT!

I knew Boston had the best deal on the table but that moron wanted him out west. Stupidity. Instead of taking the best deal for his team, he took the deal just to get him out of the eastern conference. If I were a Sixers fan, I would boycott the team.

They could have received three young guys, cap space AND multiple picks from Boston but they past that up for two late round picks and a guy that will actually help you win games this year further hurting your chances to land a stud in the draft?

BILLY KING IS A ****ING IDIOT!!!!!! I hate that moron. Damn!
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Old 12-21-2006, 03:43 PM   #3
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WORST GM IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS! That is why the sixers have the worst record in the league this year. That guy is a moron. A buffoon. He should be selling tickets, not making NBA deals.

Aarrgh. I hate billy king.
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Old 12-21-2006, 03:45 PM   #4
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WORST GM IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS! That is why the sixers have the worst record in the league this year. That guy is a moron. A buffoon. He should be selling tickets, not making NBA deals.

Aarrgh. I hate billy king.
So, you're saying that you don't like him - right?
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Old 12-21-2006, 04:34 PM   #5
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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.
I generally like Bill Simmons, but in this case he can't have it both ways. He says first that Philly stuck it to fans by keeping AI so they re-upped on their tickets. Then in the next breath, he says who cares about rivalries, same division etc.

Fans care! Let's take a hypothetical. Let's say the Nuggets are rebuilding and they trade Carmelo to Utah. Let's say the deal is great, 5 first round picks or something. But then let's say Utah gets hot and wins the championship. Great trade or not, I guarantee you have a TON of Nugget fans who are pissed. Guaranteed. So to say that it's open and shut they should have traded with the Celtics, I don't buy that. You'd be screwing fans just as much, IMO, by trading him to a division rival.
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Old 12-22-2006, 07:33 AM   #6
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What's the sense of trading one piece for a different piece, then having no cap room to build around that piece.

If Phila took a big salary back for Iverson, they'd still be in the same boat. They need cap room, and they get plenty the next 2 seasons.
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Old 12-22-2006, 10:25 AM   #7
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But they don't really have cap room. That's the problem.
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Old 12-22-2006, 11:41 AM   #8
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But they don't really have cap room. That's the problem.
If they can move Dre for an expiring, then they'd have some cap room. It's the Webber, Dalembert and Korver deals that really have them hamstrung.
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Old 12-22-2006, 08:41 PM   #9
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What's the sense of trading one piece for a different piece, then having no cap room to build around that piece.

If Phila took a big salary back for Iverson, they'd still be in the same boat. They need cap room, and they get plenty the next 2 seasons.
Billy King's goal should have been to acquire cheap young talent that has potential but will still lose games, expiring contracts and draft picks.

Why should he have done that? Because if Philly continues at the pace they are playing, they will end up with the best chance to land the next big thing, Greg Oden. They were already going to suck this year, so why not suck big time with youth and the possibility of landing a franchise player?

Instead, King took back a good player and two late round picks. What a freaking idiot. I mean, a freaking idiot.

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Old 12-22-2006, 10:37 PM   #10
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But they don't really have cap room. That's the problem.
I keep reading here that they will be under the cap after this season.
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Old 12-22-2006, 10:41 PM   #11
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Billy King's goal should have been to acquire cheap young talent that has potential but will still lose games, expiring contracts and draft picks.

Why should he have done that? Because if Philly continues at the pace they are playing, they will end up with the best chance to land the next big thing, Greg Oden. They were already going to suck this year, so why not suck big time with youth and the possibility of landing a franchise player?

Instead, King took back a good player and two late round picks. What a freaking idiot. I mean, a freaking idiot.


You're assuming the Nuggets are going to do anything.

That's precisely the wrong kind of team for Iverson.

Noone in that backcourt plays a lick of defense now.

Denver's pick will end up being higher than you think IMO.
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Old 12-25-2006, 07:37 PM   #12
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I keep reading here that they will be under the cap after this season.
After next season...but not this one.

They currently have a 90+ million payroll. Even if ALL of the Iverson money is converted to expiring contracts they will likely still be over the cap next year by virtue of the draft picks they will sign...and the various scrubs they'll likely need to fill out the roster.

Dalembert, Korver, Webber, AI Jr, 3 picks, a few scrubs on the payroll...

If they can get rid of Webber by buying him out that would be a big thing for next season.
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