Pistons general manager Joe Dumars announced at the end of last season that he didn't think the team could get back to the Finals with the same successful nucleus it had carried for the past five years.
So does Dumars believe Allen Iverson will be able to boost Detroit beyond the Eastern Conference finals? I doubt it.
Monday's surprising deal that sent Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess to Denver for Iverson appears to be more about the Pistons creating flexibility for the future.
That's because Iverson has a 21.9-million expiring contract. Add in the fact that Rasheed Wallace's deal also ends this year and the Pistons have the potential to free up around $18 million of cap room next summer.
Perhaps a run at Utah's Carlos Boozer or another front-line player is in store. If that doesn't work, the Pistons could save that cap room for the 2010 free-agent bonanza. The city of Detroit has taken plenty of abuse during the decline of the American auto industry. But in the NBA, the Pistons are no joke. Players consider Dumars a boss who knows how to build a winner and look at Detroit as an attractive destination.
In the meantime, Iverson certainly doesn't prevent the Pistons from being a top contender in the East. The question is how long will he stay?
With the development of second-year guard Rodney Stuckey, Billups was the Pistons' most expendable starter. But in his hometown of Denver, Billups is a nice acquisition, someone who can affect winning and actually improve Carmelo Anthony's Nuggets. Iverson and Anthony, to no one's surprise, just weren't a good fit.
There is talk that McDyess doesn't want to play in Denver and could be released.