Updated: Dec. 20, 2006, 3:21 PM ET

Nuggets join West's elite

A few answers about the deal that sent Allen Iverson and Ivan McFarlin from Philadelphia to Denver in exchange for Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two 2007 first-round picks . . .

Immediate impact on Denver?

The West's Elite Three (Dallas, San Antonio and Phoenix) just became the Elite Four. I expect big things out of them.

Because now the Nuggets have a Big Two, right?

Carmelo Anthony is at his best when he's in the post -- and with AI's presence this now gives them a greater low-post scoring approach they were missing. When you have two guys who require double teams -- that's what Boston had with Bird and McHale, the Lakers with Shaq and Kobe -- that can make your team very tough to defend.

The league's No. 1 and No. 2 scorer, together. Enough ball for both?

With Denver's up-tempo approach, definitely.

Philly got what it wanted in the deal. Do you see some similarities between the Nuggets and Iverson's team that went to the 2001 NBA Finals?

They have a similar type of coach in George Karl and Larry Brown. I think it's interesting the role Larry had in advising Philadelphia in the negotiations. I assume he was instrumental in this deal.

You tried to get Iverson when you were the Nuggets GM. Did you make some similar offers?

Andre Miller wasn't involved, and there was less cap relief for Philadelphia. But the biggest difference was back then Philly wasn't as willing to blow it up and rebuild. Then Allen came out with the trade demand.

Sixers GM Billy King had long held that the Nuggets matched up the best with his team.

The Nuggets could give up their point guard, top picks and an expiring contract and still be the best team Iverson's ever played on in the NBA. And next season, Kenyon Martin is coming back. We won't know how the Sixers will fare in this deal for a few seasons.

Looks like Iverson is friendly with several Nuggets players, so he's not coming into an unwelcome situation.

I know he really thought we had an extremely talented team.

Iverson and Carmelo will get to practice together several times before they first play Jan. 20 at Houston, barring a 15-game suspension reduction. Practice!

Another luxury of this deal. I don't see Allen playing that much of a different game than in Philly. With Iverson, you have a great chance to be in a game, whatever the score might be. He can take over a game and he can take over a series. This is a tailor-made situation for him.

ESPN analyst Kiki Vandeweghe, who was the Nuggets GM for five seasons until last spring, played 13 NBA seasons, averaging 19.7 ppg for four teams from 1981-1993.

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Time To Hit The Road
Allen Iverson
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images
Back in October, Allen Iverson took part in a gas company promotion with World B. Free, rear. Now it's his turn for a traveling call. His debut will likely come Friday against Sacramento.


How The Nuggets Will Look

Putting Allen Iverson with Carmelo Anthony works a lot better than, say, pairing Stephon Marbury with Steve Francis, because this duo scores in very different ways.

Iverson wants the ball at the beginning of the play so he can go off the dribble and create; 'Melo is end-of-the-play guy interested in finishing. The only change required is that Iverson will have to pass a bit more and shoot a bit less, but we're not talking about radical surgery for a guy who's averaged better than seven assists per game the last three seasons.

And beyond that, Denver doesn't need to change a thing. The Nuggets already are the league's fastest-paced team, so we won't see the scenes in Philly with Iverson jetting out on the break while Chris Webber gamely tries to drag his leg down the court.

Additionally, the Nuggets already had two players who shared traits with Iverson: a lead guard with a shaky outside shot (Miller), and a mini-Iverson (Earl Boykins, coming off the bench). As a result, Iverson will fit into George Karl's system as seamlessly as any player in the league could, especially since he can spend his first 13 or 14 games gunning at will before Anthony comes back from suspension.

And unlike some coaches, Karl doesn't seem to have a big problem working with players who are perceived as difficult. He almost seems to relish it, in fact, as Gary Payton can attest.

Complete John Hollinger column



Why It Behooves Sixers To Stink

Let us offer a word of caution to the folks in Philadelphia rejoicing over bounty of the Allen Iverson trade because it gave the 76ers three first-round picks in the 2007 draft.

Not so fast, folks. The Sixers might only have two picks, and here's why:

Back when he was trading secondary players rather than franchise players, Billy King was part of a four-team trade in July 2003, between Philadelphia, Atlanta, Minnesota and New York. King surrendered the Sixers' 2007 first-round pick to the Hawks, provided the pick was not in the top 15. If pick does end up being in the top 15, Philadelphia keeps it and must make a $1 million payment to Golden State (which acquired the rights to the pick from Atlanta through Dallas) that extinguishes the obligation for a first-round pick.

"I put that provision in there because I didn't want the obligation to keep going on and on," King told me from his cell phone Tuesday night as he drove home following the most hectic two weeks of his tenure as Philadelphia's general manager.

So, to review: The Sixers will have the two picks they acquired from the Nuggets -- Denver's own pick and Dallas' pick -- and a third pick, their own, if it is among the top 15 picks.

In order for the Sixers' own pick to be 16th or worse, Philadelphia would have to finish with the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference, since an eighth-place finish would almost certainly leave them with the 15th pick in the draft (since, as the East's 8th-place team, they would very likely have the worst winning percentage of any playoff team).

Complete Chris Sheridan column




Suns Set Franchise Record

Suns top Raps, 115-98, take 15th straight


Foul Outcome
Kobe Bryant
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Kobe Bryant strolls off the court after fouling out of the Lakers' 94-89 loss to the Bulls. LA fell 2 1/2 games behind the Suns.




Extreme Behavior
Luol Deng

Tuesday's Best
Bulls forward Luol Deng: Nets 23 points and pulls in 12 boards in Chicago's 94-89 win over the visiting Lakers. That was the Bulls' 12th win in 13 games. Only a headband can stop this team now.

Damon Stoudamire

Tuesday's Worst
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant: Departed the United Center floor with some Mutombo finger-wagging after fouling out for the first time in over a year. Scored a combined 98 in the previous two games, but finished with 19 points on 6-of-19 shooting.

Quote of the Day
"I'm very happy about the trade. Denver's style of play fits my strengths. I'm looking forward to playing with Carmelo, the rest of the Denver Nuggets, and for George Karl, who is a proven winner."
-- Allen Iverson

See how all 41 who played stacked up

-- Andrew Ayres



In This Case, Allen's Eastern Star Falling

Allen Iverson once starred in the Big East. Now his All-Star starter candidacy appears to face a challenge from the Bigger East.

Iverson was the leading vote-getter among East guards with 595,200. But after his trade from the Eastern Conference 76ers to the Western Conference Nuggets, his numbers, which will now be carried over to West balloting, only put him third behind the Lakers' Kobe Bryant (720,375) and the Rockets' Tracy McGrady (668,130).

The latter will likely get a significant Yao-aided online voting bounce from China. To illustrate the China effect, even Chuck Hayes and Shane Battier now have Chinese shoe deals.

The voting continues through Jan. 15 or paper balloting and Jan. 21 for online balloting. The announcement of the All-Star starters on Jan. 25 before a TNT doubleheader.

-- Andrew Ayres



Finals? Don't Think So

While this trade helps the Nuggets and should make them one of the better teams in the Western Conference, it does not get them to the Finals.

Sorry.

A.I. and Carmelo, not to mention Marcus Camby, J.R. Smith and Earl Boykins, make the Nuggets Must-See TV, but they're not getting past San Antonio, Dallas or Phoenix.

Complete Chris Broussard blog Insider



Iverson Begins New Year Facing Old Team

The Nuggets have already played the 76ers in Philadelphia this season. The Nuggets won 108-101 behind 31 points from Carmelo Anthony. Allen Iverson led the 76ers with 21 points.

Notable Nuggets Dates
Date Matchup Skinny
Dec 20 vs PHO Denver's next game
Jan. 2 vs PHI Iverson's first game against the 76ers
Jan. 10 vs SAS Iverson's first appearance with Denver on ESPN
Jan. 20 at HOU Carmelo Anthony's first game back from 15-game suspension*

*-- Barring successful appeal

-- Peter D. Newmann, ESPN Research

 

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