NOTE: I am not advocating redoing it or negating the trade because we can't, I'm just pointing this out.
I know it can't be fixed, and I am for bringing in melo and this trade should easily payoff in the longrun, but the part of the trade where we gave up felton for billups was the biggest killer for us, imo.
I could live with giving them chandler, gallo, mozgov, and picks for anthony and she-will+ since those players are "easier" imo to replace in the offseason, or are upgraded by anthony taking their starting spot. But trading your bargain $7mil/yr starting pg who is entering his prime and gelling well with the team for a 33yr old slowed down, passed his prime, and in the decline Billups is a killer. Just look at his play since the detroit years + career stats and you'll realize the billups on the court now isn't close to the billups of legend. His passing/offense-running abilities have dwindled, his defensive abilities have declined, he's more turnover prone, and imo, his shooting touch is going away. This part of the trade hurt us the most, not getting rid of chandler and gallo. And Mozgov was still learning and had some foul problems.
Felton could create easier buckets, felton could run an offense well, felton could defend top/fast pg's well, and felton was only going to get better. This billups can't. I honestly think how he is playing now has nothing to do with the howard injury or billups inability to pick up d'antoni's sytem mentally, it's that he physically can't do it anymore. He is "at best" a 25min/gm 1a pg now and going forward. If Billups "could" do it, melo would have easier baskets, amare wouldn't have been struggling close to as much offensively lately, we wouldn't need to start douglas or him at the 2 to guard offensive 1's, and fields would have more of an impact on the floor.
Billups is supposed to be the glue that holds, or maybe molds, this team together offensively and defensively, not melo, not amare, it's not their jobs. It wouldn't be as bad if billups could either run PnR better/see-the-floor-great or play solid d, but he can't do either well.
What can we do though next year to fix this problem? Sign and trade billups next year to a team that wouldn't mind cutting a long contract PG(people think Paul, )? Trade for $11mil/yr on his final yr Nash(excellent passer, better shooter, but close to or a worse defender)? Trade for Calderon at ~$10mil/yr for 2 seasons(a worse/all around couple levels down Nash)? Acquire Mo Williams at 8.5mil/yr for a couple years(better shooter, better passer, and likely better defender then billups entering his prime)? Or how about trading for a diamond in the rough under a low contract like Sessions(young with great upside, above average shooter, average/above average passing skills, good defender)?
At the worst, we probably negoitate billups to a $7mil/$8mil/yr deal for a year or 2.
Either way, this is still only 1 of the 2 major problems on this team to address for it to be all it can be. A defenseive rebounding center is the other one, and honestly the more troubling one with jeffries/turiaf/she-will as our starting 5 options on the team(not including amare who is a natural 4). But that will likely be addressed the most in the offseason.