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Iverson trade brings Billups, McDyess back to Nuggets

Chris Tomasson
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” The Allen Iverson experiment is over.

The Nuggets on Monday traded the All-Star guard to Detroit for Denver native Chauncey Billups, forward Antonio McDyess and center Cheikh Samb.

There was talk the Nuggets might buy out the remainder of McDyess’ contract and he could eventually return to the Pistons, but Rex Chapman, Denver’s vice president of player personnel, said McDyess would stay with the team. It would mark McDyess’ third tenure with the Nuggets.



The Nuggets have 14 players on their roster and are acquiring three for one. So they on Monday waived forward Juwan Howard, the team’s only player with a non-guaranteed contract.

Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony expects to hear talk about the failed experiment of he and Iverson.



“People always have something to say now, now that Chuck (A.I.) is traded,” Anthony said. “That’s going to be the main topic — that it didn’t work. Of course it didn’t work. If we didn’t win a championship, of course it didn’t work. I had a great time playing with Chuck. He’s going to always be one of the best teammates that I ever played with. He’s always going to be my friend.”

Iverson was acquired by Denver in December 2006 from Philadelphia. However, during his tenure the Nuggets went only 1-8 in the playoffs.

Billups, 32, a point guard, has made the All-Star team the past three seasons. He played for the Nuggets from 1998-2000 but did not blossom as a player.



The deal works under NBA salary-cap rules. Iverson is making $21.8 million this season in the final year of his contract, Billups $11.05 million, McDyess $6.8 million and Samb $711,517.

Billups has three years left on his contract after this one. He will make $12.1 million in 2009-10, $13.15 million in 2010-11 and $14.2 million in 2011-12.

McDyess, 34, has one year left after this one, also at $6.8 million.

The Nugget have been looking for a point guard since they gave up Andre Miller in the deal for Iverson.

The move will save some money for the Nuggets this season under the luxury tax. Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke has been in a cost-cutting mode since last summer, when he traded Marcus Camby to the Clippers for next to nothing, a move that could save (when the luxury tax is considered) more than $20 million.

Iverson, 33, averaged 26.4 points last season and played in all 82 games. However, he is averaging just 18.7 points in three games this season after being bothered by knee and ankle injuries in the preseason.

Billups is averaging 12.5 points this season and McDyess 7.0. Samb has not played in two games.

Billups, a former star at George Washington High School, played for the Nuggets from 1998-2000 but averaged just 12.7 points.

McDyess played for the Nuggets from 1995-97 and 1999-2002, averaging 18.2 points. He was an All-Star in 2000-01, but his career soon was wrecked by serious knee injuries.


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