What if the Sixers traded Allen Iverson to the Pistons in 2000?
When Allen Iverson was presented the All-Star Game MVP prize in 2001, his eyes darted around searching for one face.
” Where’s my coach? Where’s Coach (Larry) Brown?” he asked.
If not for Matt Geiger, that remarkable show and tell of love likely never would have happened.
The summertime prior to that season, the Sixers were close to belonging to a four-team trade that would’ve sent out Iverson, Geiger and Toni Kukoc to the Pistons, ending Iverson’s turbulent partnership with Brown. However Geiger chose he desired to remain in Philadelphia and refused to waive his trade kicker, stopping the deal.
” I took a look at Detroit and didn’t think Allen and I would’ve been better off there,” Geiger informed press reporters. “So the decision was simple.”
In a 2001 piece for ESPN, Marc Stein reported the following details of the near-trade:
In its most well-known incarnation: Eddie Jones, Glen Rice, Jerome Williams and Dale Ellis were Philly-bound; Iverson and Geiger headed to Detroit; Jerry Stackhouse, Christian Laettner and Travis Knight routed to Charlotte; and Anthony Mason, Toni Kukoc and Todd Fuller dispatched to the LA Lakers.
It’s fascinating to consider the causal sequences of Geiger accepting a transfer to Detroit. The first concern that theoretical raises is whether the Sixers still would’ve been the 2000-01 Eastern Conference champs without their 6-foot super star.
In our evaluation, here’s what the rotation might’ve looked like after the trade:
That’s still a prospective competitor. Jones, a Temple item, was coming off an All-Star season in which he averaged 20.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 helps and led the league in takes. Rice was beginning to decrease, though he stayed a three-point shooting danger. He may’ve competed for a beginning area with Lynch, a defensive-minded favorite of Brown’s. Williams, also called the “Scrap Lawn Pet Dog,” would’ve offered defense, hustle and rebounding, all qualities Brown loved.
The lack of depth behind Ratliff is a clear weak point, meaning the Sixers might have been forced to browse for another center. A Dikembe Mutombo trade still could have been on the table -especially in a world where Ratliff suffers the very same mid-season wrist injury – although it’s also possible the team would’ve offered more minutes to young huge guys MacCulloch and Nazr Mohammed.
Without Iverson, we’ll state the Sixers win 49 regular-season games and lose to the Bucks in six video games in the Eastern Conference Finals. While the trade would’ve updated an already strong defense and likely enhanced the team’s outside shooting, the 2000-01 Sixers built their identity around Iverson and his lovable, improbable brand name of heroism. In their very first season with him gone, an NBA Finals trip seems like it would’ve been too much to ask.
The other ramifications of Geiger granting the deal are a bit excessive, but an interesting one to think about is how the Pistons’ future would’ve been modified. Would another contended a Jerry Stackhouse-Iverson duo have worked after that pair combated and failed to mesh in Philadelphia? In the truth we know, Stackhouse was No. 2 in basket tries per video game and scoring for the 2000-01 season, while Iverson was No. 1 in both those classifications. There would’ve been a lot of shots to divvy up in Detroit.
If the Pistons landed Iverson in July of 2000, what would have occurred with Grant Hill, who got shipped to the Magic in an August sign-and-trade that brought Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins to Detroit? One imagines the Pistons would’ve felt much better about the concept of letting Hill leave in complimentary company with another star on board in Iverson. Possibly they would never ever have actually acquired Wallace, a four-time Defensive Gamer of the Year and core piece on their 2003-04 champion group.
Remember, too, that Brown coached the ’03-04 Pistons. He resigned after the Sixers’ second-round playoff loss to Detroit in 2003, then later on accepted the Pistons job and instantly won his very first NBA title. The four-team trade, however, might have shifted his path.
A team led by Jones might have been more stable and less stressful for Brown than one headlined by Iverson, even if it never ever managed to reach the exact same heights. Though Brown had a nomadic reputation, a prolonged stay with a Sixers team that prioritized defense and had a load of low-maintenance, high-effort people – and didn’t have a star who sometimes got on his nerves – may have been appealing.
Thanks to Geiger, we don’t need to contemplate any of these alternate universes. It’s satisfying to do, however remembering Iverson’s MVP season and the Sixers’ only NBA Finals appearance in the past 37 years is also lots of fun.
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