Denver almost settled for Tinsley …

This past season was a disaster, one I think all Pistons fans are ready to forget, and yet every time I post lately all I do is re-hash old stuff, whether it's remembering Chuck Daly, fondly looking back at Chauncey Billups or re-living past failures by players still on the team (for now).

As the draft approaches, we'll start honing focusing on the future with more of a keen eye, but in the meantime ... more Billups scuttlebutt, courtesy of Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post, who attempts to describe the anatomy of the Billups/Iverson swap for the umpteenth time. I know, I know, you heard it all before ... but this is the first version I've heard that includes the name Jamaal Tinsley. Read on:

"When I heard there was some talk about a trade involving Melo for me, I sat down during the summer and talked with (Pistons president) Joe Dumars," said Billups, who loved his boss like a brother. "We talked about the whole trade situation. I told him: 'Look, I don't want to go anywhere. But if I've got to go, there's only one place I want to be: Home. In Denver.' And I'm sure he took that into consideration."

[...] The No. 1 thing that pushed Iverson out of Denver was not his give-me-the-ball attitude or any of his off-court vices.

The 33-year-old superstar whose game was built on speed had lost a step. Team officials detected it early in training camp. A.I. had difficulty keeping pace with journeymen such as Mateen Cleaves. In a new Denver system dedicated to straight-up defense, this was a fatal flaw.

When the Nuggets lost their season-opener in Utah on Oct. 29, [Nuggets owner Stan] Kroenke and [advisor Bret] Bearup watched the game on television from the owner's ranch deep in the woods of British Columbia. But they could clearly see what had to be done before the rest of the league realized Iverson had slipped.

The Nuggets needed to go find a legitimate starting point guard.

Within hours, the Pacers agreed to ship Tinsley, a draft pick and cash to Denver in return for veterans Chucky Atkins and Steven Hunter.

Rather than pull the trigger, however, the Nuggets instructed Warkentien to make a fresh call to Detroit, in hopes the possibility of a trade with Indiana might entice Dumars, long a fan of A.I.'s tenacity, to bite on an even bigger deal.

It seemed to be a long shot, a gamble based on a bluff.

Shortly after noon on Oct. 30, however, Warkentien informed his stunned co-workers: Detroit seemed anxious to say yes. Iverson for Billups.

(hat-tip: BallerBlogger)

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