DETROIT (AP) -The Detroit Pistons almost acquired Allen Iverson from Philadelphia entering the 2000-01 season.
Then, they watched Iverson lead the 76ers to the NBA finals and be named league MVP.
Eight years later, Detroit is hoping The Answer was worth the wait.
The Pistons acquired Iverson on Monday in a blockbuster trade for All-Star point guard and former finals MVP Chauncey Billups, top reserve Antonio McDyess and project Cheikh Samb.
Detroit is desperate for another shot at an NBA title after winning its third in 2004, falling just short of repeating and getting eliminated in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals the past three years.
The 33-year-old Iverson has done it all in the league - other than win a title.
e table that they're coming in with something to prove,'' Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said. ``You know he wants to win. This is going to present what we feel like is his best opportunity to do so.''
Iverson is expected to start at point guard, perhaps Wednesday in Toronto, alongside All-Stars Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace, Olympian Tayshaun Prince and 21-year-old Amir Johnson.
Barring injury, Iverson will make his home debut Sunday night against the Boston Celtics.
The Pistons have reached six straight Eastern Conference finals - the longest such streak since the Los Angeles Lakers' dominant run in the 1980s - and won the 2004 title without a player expected to be in the Hall of Fame.
Their lack of a superstar seemed to hurt them the past three seasons, exiting the playoffs against Boston's Kevin Garnett, Cleveland's LeBron James and Miami's Dwyane Wade.
Iverson brings plenty of star power to Detroit.
``It's a different way for us to try to win games, other than the same predictable way we've been doing it for quite some time,'' Dumars said.
The deal clears a lot of salary-cap space for the Pistons because Iverson is making $20.8 million in the final year of his contract while Billups is in the second season of a four-year contract worth a guaranteed $46 million with a $14 million team option for a fifth year.
ts itself,'' Dumars said, ``where you can cover yourself on both sides - the immediate impact player and the long-term flexibility - you have to push the button.''
Iverson said during training camp he wanted to finish his career in Denver and was disappointed he wasn't offered a contract extension. But, he acknowledged being excited about being a first-time free agent next summer.
``I think the best part of this as far as my career goes is I'll be a free agent this summer and I'll be able to do what makes me happy,'' Iverson said during training camp. ``That's the most important thing at the end of my career is to be in a situation where I'm happy and my family is situated and they're happy.''
Iverson's agent, Leon Rose, told The Associated Press he is not negotiating a contract extension with the Pistons for his client.
The addition of Billups might placate Nuggets fans who have watched the once free-spending franchise trade defensive standout Marcus Camby to the Los Angeles Clippers in the offseason and recently decline to extend Linas Kleiza's contract.
Billups is a Denver native, former Colorado star, former Nugget and one of the most popular players among his peers in the league because of his likable personality.
nver and Colorado is fun to be a part of and enthusiastic to our owners.''
McDyess also will be enjoying a homecoming of sorts, landing on the Nuggets' roster for the third time.
The Pistons kept McDyess off the free-agent market last summer by giving him a $13.5 million, two-year extension. Detroit would love to have him back if the cost-cutting Nuggets buy out his contract.
``I'll be talking with Antonio and his representative directly,'' Nuggets executive Mark Warkentien said. ``But we think he's a heck of a player and know he's a quality guy. One step at a time.''
The 34-year-old McDyess revived his career with the Pistons, playing 321 games over four seasons after serious knee operations pushed him toward possibly retiring. The former Olympian and All-Star has averaged 13.4 points and 7.7 rebounds for his career.
Detroit acquired the 7-foot-1 Samb for Maurice Evans from the Lakers during the 2006 draft. The 24-year-old center played in just four NBA games last season, spending much of his year in the NBADL, where he led the minor league with four blocks a game.
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AP Sports Writer Arnie Stapleton in Denver and Mike Cranston in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.

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