Iverson for Brand for Camby

It doesn't always work this way, but it's interesting to note that the Clippers, Sixers and Nuggets just (kind of) participated in a blockbuster, three-team, three-player trade that took about 19 months to complete.

When Philadelphia sent Iverson to the Nuggets in December 2006, they did so with the specific intention of freeing up some cap space to sign a free agent.  Unfortunately, since the rotting carcass of Chris Webber was still on their books, they wouldn't actually have the cap space until 2008.  But Joe Smith's expired contract is a big chunk of the money that ended up going to Elton Brand.

So the transaction moved pretty slowly those first 19 months, waiting for Philly to clear the rest of the cap space.  And then it shifted into high gear.  The Sixers used their new found cap space, created in part by the Iverson trade, to lure Elton Brand back east. 

The Clippers wasted no time in trading their Brand-vacated cap space and little else to Denver for Marcus Camby.  And why did Denver make that trade?  Because they were so far over the salary cap due in large part to Iverson's $20M contract. 

Obviously there are a few other factors here.  Philly got two draft picks, and they still have Andre Miller.  Denver has a $10M trade exception they may yet use.  But the principals of this slow-motion trade are Iverson and Brand and Camby.

It would seem in the early analysis that Philadelphia was the winner.  Don't forget that they made the playoffs in the East in their first full season without Iverson, which they had not done for their last several seasons with Iverson.  So it was already addition-by-subtraction.  Andre Miller has played well for them and they got the draft pick that became Jason Smith (they squandered the other pick).  And now they add Brand. 

Obviously, the Clippers would never have chosen to trade Elton Brand straight up for Marcus Camby.  Even so, it's too early to call them losers in this trade.  Most importantly, Camby makes less money than Elton Brand, and for significantly fewer seasons (two as opposed to five).  So just as Philly's success story has taken 19 months to come together, don't judge the Clippers quite yet.

Denver is the obvious loser so far.  Not only did they fare no better with Iverson on board than they did before, that was WITH Camby.  And in a very real sense, they gave up not just two 2007 first round picks, but also a 2008 first round pick, since they sold that pick to avoid having to pay luxury tax on a guaranteed rookie salary.  Andre Miller, Marcus Camby, and three first round picks is a lot to give up for the privilege to pay Allen Iverson $20M per season while losing eight straight playoff games.

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