Rip Hamilton didn't speak to reporters for three days following the Chauncey Billups/Allen Iverson trade. After a chat with Joe Dumars on Wednesday, he finally spoke following Thursday's practice. From Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:
"I told him, 'Look, I played with a great guard for a long time. And the first time I stepped out on that court and he wasn't there, man, that was a weird feeling,' " Dumars said. "He was the only guy I had ever played with, so, yeah, I totally understand what Rip's going through."
Dumars was referring to playing for the Pistons after Isiah Thomas retired. Dumars said he called Thomas after his first practice without him. Thomas was the general manager for the Raptors at the time.
"I told him, 'Man, I had the weirdest feeling today,' " Dumars said. "Isiah was like, 'What happened?' I told him, 'I stepped out on that court today and you weren't there.' "
[...] "It's like I lost a brother, you know?" [Hamilton] said. "Me and Chaunce, we came in as nothing when we first got to Detroit, and then we pretty much played ourselves into stars here and won a championship together. We did a lot of special things together.
"It's so tough. You always think you are going to play together forever. But in life, nothing is ever forever. I miss him like I would miss a brother."
Hamilton's extension was announced just hours after the Iverson deal became official. In fact, my guess is that the deals were contingent upon each other. Had Hamilton not signed the extension, he could have opted out this summer; considering AI will definitely be a free agent, there's no way Dumars would have rolled the dice were there even a chance he'd lose both halves of his All-Star backcourt.
(If you recall, this was the crux of my argument against the deal back when it was still a mere rumor. Man, that feels like weeks ago ...)
But Hamilton's extension must have taken days, if not weeks, to hammer out. Did he agree to it thinking he was securing his future playing next to Billups? Or did Dumars clue him in that change was on the horizon? (Does it even matter? Probably not, but I couldn't help but wonder. Hamilton's extension has completely flown under the radar given the big trade so I haven't heard anyone else ask the question.)