Let’s travel back in our minds to 2003, when at the movie theater we were all Finding Nemo and at the NBA draft the Detroit Pistons went with Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony. We wince now (we winced then, too), but Detroit went on to win the NBA title the next season thanks to stifling defense and a team led by Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups.
But dreams of what might have been if Anthony had been part of that team in 2005 and beyond still haunt Piston fans. How many titles? For sure they would still be relevant rather than rebuilding.
Now, the three-team trade talks between the Nets, Pistons and Nuggets could unite in New Jersey what Detroit fans dreamed of — Billups could move with Anthony from Denver to New Jersey, and Hamilton would join them out of Detroit.
It’s Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, who is pushing for Billups and Hamilton to go to Jersey, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. The reason is simple: Anthony does not want to take a step backwards by going to a New Jersey team that is still rebuilding, he wants to go there and be competitive in the East. We can have a debate about whether bringing in 34-year-old Billups and 32-year-old Hamilton — while sending Devin Harris and Derrick Favors out — is really smart or makes them competitive in the East, but that’s their thinking.
However, Ken Berger of CBSSports said this Detroit dream scenario is dead for now because the Nets asked Detroit to also give up a pick while taking on Johan Petro and his two-year deal. That may well have shut off talks, but there are so many scenarios and offers out there we’re hesitant to think any option could not be revived.
Berger adds that there have been talks with Minnesota to be the third team, and they are not the only team being approached. But the bottom line has not changed — Denver is taking its time and likely will drag this entire thing out until close to the Feb. 24 trading deadline. Don’t expect anything soon.