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6 NBA TeamsThat Need to be Reunited

by Photo of Scott Davis

With Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace reuniting, we look at 6 NBA teams that need a reunion.

6 NBA TeamsThat Need to be Reunited

News broke early today that Chauncey Billups would be signing a two-year contract with the Detroit Pistons that will, in all likelihood, finish out his NBA career. The deal is fitting, however, because Billups played his best years in the NBA with the Pistons. Additionally great is that Billups will be reunited with Rasheed Wallace who recently signed on to be an assistant coach with the team.

Billups, alongside a cast of good, but not great NBA players like 'Sheed, Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton, and Tayshaun Prince, formed a dynasty in Detroit during the mid-2000s featuring two Finals appearances, one championship, and six straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances. The Pistons, who just signed Josh Smith to a mega-deal, may actually be a competitive team this year as they've united some experienced veterans with young, promising talent.

The Billups-Wallace reunion makes us nostalgic for some old, great NBA teams to come back together. Here's a list of NBA teams that need to be re-stitched in some capacity. And, warning, we're thinking outside the box:

2007-08 Utah Jazz

The 2007-08 Jazz were a quietly cool team that were considered Western Conference contenders, but didn't quite live up to the billing or the '06-07 team's Western Conference Finals run. They finished with a solid 54-28 regular season record, but were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Houston Rockets. The Jazz were equipped with a pretty cool roster at the time: Carlos Boozer was a double-double machine, a legitimate All-Star power forward averaging 21 & 10 per night; Deron Williams was still an innocent, non-coach-killing point guard, busting out for an absurd season line of 18.8 points, 10.5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal per game while shooting over 50% from the field and 39% from three-point range. Around them was the Swiss Army Knife, Andrei Kirilenko, still in his prime; Mehmet Okur, not as good as his Pistons days, but still a starting center; big bruiser Matt Harpring; and rosy-cheeked, starry-eyed youngsters like Ronnie Brewer, Paul Millsap, and Kyrylo Fesenko. The great Jerry Sloan coached this team to first place in the Northwest Division and to the best Offensive Rating in the NBA.

1998-99 New York Knicks

To most, the '98-99 lockout-shortened season was a sad, truncated season with less games, and officially, no Michael Jordan. But for Knicks fans, it became one of the most memorable years in team history. They were a star-studded team built around an elderly Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston, injury-reduced Larry Johnson, and new-comer/nearly exiled/fresh-off-a-season-long-suspension Latrell Sprewell. The team struggled through the 50-game campaign, needing the season finale to make the playoffs as the eight seed. Then, improbably, they exploded in the playoffs, eliminating the Miami Heat, their first-place rivals, sweeping the Atlanta Hawks, and knocking off the Indiana Pacers to get to the Finals. Between Allan Houston's running jumper to eliminate Miami at the buzzer, and Larry Johnson's four-point play, the postseason was drenched in spine-tingling victories. They lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals, but the '98-99 Knicks were a tough bunch who spawned one of the greatest playoff runs ever. (Editor note: This was the first NBA team I ever watched, and I'm still a devoted, tortured Knicks fan to the day).

2001-02 Sacramento Kings

If the Kings leave Sacramento one day, their fans will always have this team to hold onto. The '01-02 Kings were elite in their own right, finishing the season with a 61-21 record, first in the West, and going to seven games in the Western Conference Finals before falling to the eventual champions, the Los Angeles Lakers. Chris Webber anchored the team with one of the greatest seasons in power forward history - 24.5 points per game, 10.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.4 blocks, and 49.5% FG. A young, promising, three-point bombing Peja Stojakovic surrounded him, along with the bald, tattooed, still-good Mike Bibby and the always enjoyable Vlade Divac and Doug Christie. They probably could have won the Finals, but some plain, old bad luck (like, bad luck) knocked 'em out. Oh, what could have been. Still, when this team was doing their thing, they were seriously fun, and in those Conference Finals, Arco Arena was registering motorcycle-esque decibel levels.

1990-91 Golden State Warriors

Also known as "Run TMC," the Warriors, led by the trio of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin had their name coined by a fan writing into the San Francisco Examiner.  The team never reached the highest heights, with '90-91 being their best season, finishing with a 44-38 record and getting eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. Still, their fast-paced style, coached by Don Nelson, was against the grain for '90s basketball, and their Big 3 was a force to be reckoned with. Hardaway, Richmond, and Mullin combined for 72.5 points and 55 shots per game during the season; the next highest scorer on the team, Sarunas Marciulionis, managed just 10 points on seven shots per game. In the small, fast, modern NBA, Run TMC would be a hit.

2002-03 Washington Wizards

The '02-03 Wizards weren't anything special -- they finished with a 37-45 record and missed the playoffs. Yet they had the second best attendance record in the NBA. Why? Because this was the second year of Michael Jordan's return to the NBA and decision to play for the Wizards! The team had a simply hilarious roster: Jerry Stackhouse (he led the team in scoring over Jordan, actually), Larry Hughes, Christian Laettner, Kwame Brown (the under-performing rookie who battled with MJ), Jared Jeffries, Tyronne Lue, Charles Oakley (an old Knicks rival/Bulls teammate with Jordan), Byron Russell (the man Jordan hit the '98 Finals-winning jumper over). Management absolutely thought they were putting a contender around Jordan, but really, it was just a very ironic team. 2003 was practically a victory tour for Jordan as teams he didn't play for retired his jerseys, gave him video tributes, and standing ovations. No one remembers the '02-03 Wizards, but we'd like to see them reunited, just for one more scrimmage against, say, today's Jordan-owned Charlotte Bobcats!

1998-99 Houston Rockets

The lockout-shortened '98-99 season gave us some weird teams to enjoy. Most people probably wouldn't know that Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, and Charles Barkley all played on a team together, but they did! Like the aforementioned Wizards team, the '98-99 Rockets team wasn't all that good. They finished with a 31-19 record, made the playoffs, but were eliminated in four games in the first round. Their roster was fun, though. Management surely thought they could build a team around The Dream, Pip, and Sir Charles, despite their old ages -- after all, they were arguably three of the top ten players in the 1990s. But nay, neither three could carry a Houston team lacking much talent elsewhere despite putting up decent numbers for their ages (Barkley averaged 16 & 12 per game, amazingly). The '98-99 Rockets are little more than fun trivia for people who would think that such a Big 3 would surely win a championship together.

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