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More Thoughts on Chauncey Billups Joining the Nuggets

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Matt at Detroit Bad Boys is salivating over all the cap space the Pistons will have to play with starting next summer. 

He also wonders if McDyess, who was did not want to be traded, might be able to be convinced to head to Denver because he is close with Chauncey and as we all know, he has played here and then Voluntarily returned in the past.

Natalie over at Need 4 Sheed has a link to a radio report that Dyess may be bought out and then return to the Pistons.  As I have pointed out, he would have to sit out for 30 days, but if he wants to go back bad enough that is only a minor deterrent.

My thought is the Nuggets would not have had Samb included in the deal if they were going to keep Dyess.  I expect him to be back in Detroit by early December.

Samb is probably an unknown to most Nugget fans.  He is an active athletic big man who the Pistons were high on.  Here is some footage from the 2008 NBA Summer League with Samb.  He is number 35 in white and the game is Detroit versus Charlotte.

The only confusion from Nugget fans surrounding this deal seems to be why did they do it now, three games into the season?  The teams were clearly in touch with each other during the offseason with Detroit seeking to acquire Carmelo Anthony.  Dumars promised to make changes to a team that despite reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for six straight seasons had proven to be somewhat disappointing since losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2005 NBA Finals.  Most people think this is a deal that Dumars made to make the Pistons better.  The real reason he did this was for the massive cap space he will have next summer (as mentioned above by Matt from Detroit Bad Boys) when he allows AI to walk.

I think it took Dumars a while to accept that he was not going to be able to pull off a deal that would truly make the Pistons a contender again so he decided to pull the trigger on this deal to jumpstart the rebuilding of the Pistons.

From the Nuggets point of view, AI has been banged up and has clearly not been as effective as he was last season.  Without him they would not have defeated the Clippers and would be 0-3.  However, AI is looking like he is slowing down and perhaps all it took was three regular season games for the Nuggets to decide that it was time to pull the plug. 

There has also been confusion as to why Denver has made a trade adding long term salary when they were so desperate to dump Camby’s salary in July?  The key is that this deal goes hand in hand with the Camby trade for reducing payroll this season.  Many fans claimed that Kronke was going cheap and the made it sound like Kronke was never going to spend any money on the Nuggets again.  I have been fighting that point of view since it surfaced and this deal is proof that Kronke is still willing to spend his money on a competitive team.  I doubt they will enter the luxury tax again without more proof that it will lead to a championship, but you better believe Kronke is not going to start running the Nuggets shoe string budget.

I am a little disappointed in a what if, grass is always greener kind of way that the Nuggets are not going to see what could have happened next offseason with AI off the books and Camby’s trade exception available, but realistically I doubt they would have put together a better team than this one.  They would not have acquired a better point guard with the trade exception as they would have been looking at the Hinrichs and Feltons of the world.  Billups is a perfect point guard for the Nuggets, it gets J.R. in the starting lineup, Anthony Carter returns to his back up role where he should excel and Denver is once again a team who can put some fear in the conference elites.

The interesting thing is even though the financial commitment to Billups is far less than it was for AI two years ago this really is another go for broke type deal due to the fact the Nuggets team who will take the floor Wednesday against Golden State is the Nuggets team we will be cheering for over the next two seasons.  There is little room for improvement to the core, but if the starting five of Billups, Smith, Melo, Martin and Nene all play to their potential, there will be little need to make changes.

The one question I have not seen asked and have yet to address myself is how does this deal affect Melo?

Many fans believed the Iverson acquisition hurt Anthony’s development as a leader.  He was no longer the clear top dog and he pulled back a little because of it.  Billups will certainly be a leader who will come in with some championship clout from the start, but from a talent standpoint Melo is the star and will be in position to make this his team.

As far as on the court, Melo and AI both have said that shots were easier to come by due to having two scoring threats on the floor.  From what I have seen defenses still keyed on Melo when he was playing with AI and that will certainly not change with AI now gone.  However, Melo should benefit from having a true point guard to get him the ball in position to score. 

Not only will Melo benefit from this deal, but Chauncey should too.  With Melo drawing double teams that should open up the floor for Billups to get open looks from three and Nene and Kenyon to run the pick and roll with Billups should be in heaven offensively.

I am not sure how interested Billups will be in pushing the pace in Denver, but the Nuggets have been playing a little slower and Chauncey will be great for them in the half court.  Plus, even though he is returning “home” Billups will not have too much pressure on him.  All he has to do is to lead the Nuggets to a home win in the playoffs and he will have proven to be a wild success.