Wednesday, December 20, 2006

NBA: Nuggets and 76ers Both Do Well in Iverson Trade

By Dustin Hockensmith

The Philadelphia 76ers have shipped disgruntled star Allen Iverson to the Denver Nuggets for Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two first round draft picks in 2007, NBA sources told the Associated Press. The Nuggets have quickly filled the scoring void left by leading scorer Carmelo Anthony's right fist, and the Sixers have gotten far closer to fair value than anyone expected. All in all, not a bad deal for either team.

Denver's situation obviously gets more interesting as Anthony and J.R. Smith return from 15 and 6 game suspensions, but that might be an easier problem to solve than people think. Everyone criticizes Iverson on the style of basketball he plays, but when has anyone made a serious request for him to change? Make him a point guard in George Karl's high tempo offense, and he can still handle the ball and create havoc on the fastbreak.

The 76ers have a chance to drastically overhaul their franchise in a relatively short amount of time. Any pick in the top five of next year's draft is going to land a virtually guaranteed impact player. Then, you add quality college players (preferably winners) with Denver's two picks and you've got a pretty fresh start. That's not even mentioning a proven distributor in Miller and the expiring contract of Smith.

Given the two organization's circumstances, I'd call Philly the winner if I had to pick one. Fewer things need to happen for them to achieve their main goal: redefine their franchise. Denver's clear goal is to win a championship, preferably this season, and the coexistence of Iverson and Anthony in that cause is far from a sure thing.

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