Friday, April 03, 2009

Dumars's Junk Drawer About To Get A New Item

Joe Dumars now has an addition to his junk drawer.

You know what a junk drawer is. Likely, you have one at home. And it's no doubt filled with loose batteries and balls of string and maybe an odd pair of pliers or a Phillips head screwdriver or two. Maybe a plastic part to something that you have no idea what it is. An old, folded up photo.

Dumars, the Pistons president and GM, would open his junk drawer and here's what he'd see.

A number two overall draft pick.

A mis-drafted point guard from Michigan State.

A mis-drafted guard from North Carolina-Charlotte.

A mistakenly signed free agent from Michigan.

And, one more for the drawer: a future Hall of Famer from Georgetown.

Allen Iverson is destined to be added to Dumars's junk drawer, in which is jostling around Darko Milicic (and he's taking up the most space, btw), Mateen Cleaves, Rodney White, and Chris Webber.

Iverson is no longer the fancy-shmancy grandfather clock that impresses visitors as soon as they walk into your home. His parts are soon to be broken down and its fragments ending up in the junk drawer, out of sight -- only to function as a reminder of what once was, whenever you open the drawer.

The Chauncey Billups-for-Allen Iverson trade, if it was supposed to be a trade to help the Pistons this season, can now be officially declared a bust. A flat out failure.

Billups has played magnificently in Denver, leading the Nuggets to now be included in the same breath as the Spurs and the Lakers as possible Western reps in the NBA Finals. Chauncey, by all accounts, has fit in wonderfully with the 'Gets and is "making his teammates better", that old line.

The words coming out of Detroit re: Iverson aren't very pleasant.

Unhappy. Frustrated. Disillusioned.

And those are the fans.

Iverson is threatening retirement now -- his latest salvo as he goes kicking and screaming to the bench, having been removed from the starting lineup.

When A.I. bounced into town last November, he started talking right away about winning a championship. It was the only thing conspicuously missing from his resume. The talk made some sense, because even though the Pistons had slipped a bit, they were still riding a six-year Eastern Conference Finals streak. Maybe Iverson, indeed, was the missing piece to the puzzle.

But all talk of championships is now folly. The Pistons, today, just hope to qualify for the playoffs.

Seven games remain, and it's looking good that the Pistons' losses will outnumber their wins, and that hasn't happened since the 2000-01 season. Ironically, the season in which Iverson's Philadelphia 76ers made the NBA Finals. Iverson hasn't been close to returning since, just as the Pistons haven't been close to a losing season since then.

Well, Iverson still isn't going to sniff the Finals this spring. That's quite clear.

But if the Iverson trade, as I wrote here shortly after it was made, is part of Dumars's grand financial plan as he postures for the huge free agent class of 2010, then maybe it wasn't supposed to be for this season as much as it was to free up some dough. Iverson's huge contract can now be used to pare the Pistons' payroll this summer, should he not re-sign. Which he won't. Neither party, I suspect, wants the other.

Dumars, normally very available to the media, has been unusually quiet this season. Maybe it's in deference to his rookie coach, Michael Curry. Maybe Dumars doesn't want to be overshadowing.

Or maybe he just doesn't know what to say. Or HAVE anything to say. What can you utter, really, when such a high-profile trade explodes in your face, like one of those cartoon sticks of dynamite?

And what do WE say, once the smoke from the explosion clears, to a man whose hair is filled with soot and whose eyebrows have been burned off and who's coughing out smoke?

What would you say to Wile E. Coyote? Or Moe from the Three Stooges? Or Stan Laurel or Oliver Hardy, in such a situation?

Only one thing to say, really.

Didn't you know that that stick of dynamite with the burning fuse was going to blow?

Now, just shove it into the junk drawer, for posterity.

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