Oh, no, it wasn't

faceoff: who made out better in their trade, the pistons or the nuggets?

November 05, 2008|By KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG

I don't think we'll ever see another player as polarizing as Allen Iverson in my lifetime. Throughout his career, he has been used as a symbol to explain everything that is right with the modern NBA and everything that is wrong about the modern NBA.

Personally, I always thought Iverson got unfairly blamed for a lot of things, among them the playoff failings in Philadelphia and Denver.

The Nuggets' problem wasn't that Iverson and Carmelo Anthony couldn't jell; they jelled quite nicely. Their problem was that they ran into the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers in the first round and didn't have the size to match up with them. Denver won 50 games last season with Iverson and Anthony, something it hadn't done since Ronald Reagan was president.

I don't think it was downright foolish for the Nuggets to trade him - he is getting up there in years - but I do think it was foolish for them to trade him for Chauncey Billups, who is old and slow and has been referred to as "underrated" so many times no one realized he officially became overrated two years ago.

Obviously, this was, in part, about money. Denver saw that Iverson's $21 million contract was up after this year and didn't want to offer him an extension. Of course, if they hadn't decided to give Nene a six-year, $60 million contract, maybe they would have other options.

Anthony is in the prime of his career, and instead of letting him continue to strengthen his partnership with a Hall of Famer, the Nuggets decided to panic, tear up the blueprint and start over. It's a shame.

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