Seemingly overnight in the late 2000s, the Detroit Pistons went from perennial title contender to…well, what they are now. There were plenty of factors that led to this, including the disastrous signings of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva in 2009 and the recently-waived Josh Smith in 2013. But former Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey, now with the Pacers, says the biggest factor in the franchise’s decline was trading 2004 Finals MVP Chauncey Billups to Denver for Allen Iverson in 2008.
From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:
“I wish they wouldn’t have traded away Chauncey, to be honest with you,” Stuckey said. “I wish they would’ve took the San Antonio Spurs philosophy of keeping all their vets and get younger guys around their vets and doing it that way. You see how successful they are.”
“After Chauncey left, that’s when everything went downhill. Chauncey was the glue that held everything together and held everyone accountable,” Stuckey said. “When you trade away that you see what happens. Everything was just a domino effect after that. If I’d say one thing that would be my thing.”
The Billups/Iverson trade was a disaster from the start. Iverson checked out as soon as he got to Detroit. He bristled at coming off the bench behind Rip Hamilton and had his worst statistical season to that point. Billups, meanwhile, led the Nuggets to that year’s Western Conference Finals, their deepest playoff run of the Carmelo Anthony era.
That trade took place during Stuckey’s second year in the league, when he was still developing and looked up to Billups as a mentor at the point guard position. There are few better people to learn from as a young guard than Billups, so it’s no surprise that Stuckey was shaken up by the trade.
There were a lot of terrible moves made by former Pistons GM Joe Dumars. That trade was near the top of the list.
With the injury to Paul George the Indiana Pacers desperately could use some more shot creation. Like they got from Lance Stephenson last season when he wasn’t blowing in people’s ears.
It just so happens that after early struggles and chemistry issues, the Charlotte Hornets happen to want to trade Stephenson and his actually reasonable contract (for his talent level). This has led to trade rumors and at least some level of talks between the Hornets and Pacers about bringing Stephenson back to Indy, with Indiana’s owner saying he’s sign off on the deal if Larry Bird wants to pull the trigger.
However, the Pacers players feel differently, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Locker room chemistry issues have followed Stephenson — he has clashed with Hornets’ teammates already this season — and there is no team is out there thinking right now “what we need is a bad actor in this locker room?”
It is possible Stephenson gets moved closer to the trade deadline, there might be a team willing to gamble on his talent (again, it’s a reasonable contract with two-years, $18 million after this season and the second of those years is a player option). For now, after being underwhelmed by the offers that came in, the Hornets have pulled back from Stephenson trade talks.
The thing is, until he plays a lot closer to last season’s form, and until he shows he’s not going to blow up another locker room, no team is going to take a serious run at trading for him.
Indiana made the Clippers really work for a win at home Wednesday night.
And with that C.J. Miles turned the tables on Clippers and threw down a monster dunk on them. Miles curled off a Luis Scola screen at the elbow, got the pass going to the basket with Chris Douglas-Roberts pinned behind him and Blake Griffin recognizing and rotating too late. So Miles showed he’s got some hops.