The biggest mistake in Billy King’s career as 76ers GM was not pairing Iverson and McGrady in 1999

The biggest mistake in Billy King’s career as 76ers GM was not pairing Iverson and McGrady in 1999

During his stint as a GM for Philadelphia 76ers, Billy King had stopped a trade that would make 76ers a force in the eastern conference. In 1999 he had made a deal with Toronto, which included Larry Hughes and Tracy McGrady. Larry Hughes would be a new member of the Raptors and in the opposite direction would have gone McGrady and a first-round pick. Billy King broke this information while he was an analyst for ESPN. He spoke openly about it and admitted that he got cold feet once Stephen A. Smith broke that news.

This deal would make 76ers a serious contender for years to come. Prime Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady would be a deadly one-two punch for any team in the NBA at that time. The problem would be center position, but with a good draft pick or a smart trade, they could have resolved this problem. Can you even imagine how deadly that combination would be, two guys who are usually in conversation as the toughest players to guard against in that era? Their careers might have been longer as both of them would have a partner, someone who would allow them to take a night off and recover.

When you compare them in 1998-99 season, Larry Hughes and Tracy McGrady had a similar stat, both of them averaged around 10 PPG. The upside was on McGrady’s side since he exploded in the next couple of seasons and won numerous accolades during those years. Larry Hughes, on the other hand, had a decent 14-year career in the league. McGrady was a consistent All-star, two-time NBA scoring champion, and 7-time All-NBA team. Pairing him with a player that had a similar career as him would be a pleasure to watch. Iverson and McGrady would take turns torturing opposing teams on offense.

Paring a prime Iverson with McGrady would give us numerous crazy scoring nights and jaw-dropping alley-oops. During those years, both of them were top 10 players in the league and matchup nightmares for other teams. We can be sorry because Billy King didn’t pull the trigger for this trade. McGrady never got close to the finals during his prime years, while Iverson did once against the Lakers in 2001 when he lost 4-1. If he had a McGrady on that team, he would’ve probably had more chance of beating the Lakers, but this will forever stay up for debate.