Here's what an NBA team in the market for a former MVP would get
with Allen Iverson:
One night, Iverson scores 45 points in 48 minutes against Miami,
the second time he tops 40 points in three games. Two nights after
scorching the Heat, Iverson is whacked with a heavy fine for
blowing off a Philadelphia 76ers bowling event for season-ticket
holders and corporate sponsors.
He's always been a hoops icon, and an iconoclast, all wrapped in
For most of Iverson's 11-year career, the Sixers were willing to
look the other way and put up with Iverson's indiscretions as long
as it meant deep runs in the playoffs, a packed house every night
and those No. 3 jerseys selling out around the globe.
Larry Brown vs. Iverson? Iverson stuck around while Brown won a
title in Detroit.
Chris Ford vs. Iverson? Please. No interim coach could control
Now with the Sixers (5-14) on a seven-game losing streak and
playing to dwindling crowds, and Iverson butting heads with coach
Maurice Cheeks, the franchise player and the franchise have finally
had enough of each other.
Iverson did last week what he always swore he wouldn't do:
request a trade. The Sixers are ready to grant his wish. Now, it's
up to Sixers team president Billy King to find the right deal for
the seven-time All-Star.
"I'm trying to do what's best for this organization," King said
The Sixers sent Iverson home the last two games and said on
Sunday the four-time scoring champion will be inactive again for
Monday night's game against Portland. The Sixers then play three
more times this week, against Boston on Wednesday, and a Texas
back-to-back at Dallas and San Antonio, meaning a deal will likely
have to come soon before the situation really gets ugly.
Sixers chairman Ed Snider said Iverson has "probably" played his
last game in Philadelphia. Iverson acknowledged a trade was for the
best and thanked Sixers fans for 11 great years. The next time
those Philly fans see Iverson live again, it will be in another
But which one?
Besides the combustible nature of his personality, the biggest
obstacle to a deal is Iverson's hefty salary. He's due the rest of
his $18 million this season, and a combined $40 million through the
2008-09 season. A third team might have to be included to swing a
"In the NBA, it's not easy to make moves because you have to
take money back and all these other things, but we're going to have
to deal with it," Snider said.
Plus, while King sorely wants to deal the franchise player, he
can't just give Iverson away. No one in Philly can forget the
Sixers only getting Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang and Tim Perry for
Charles Barkley in 1992. And the Sixers traded Wilt Chamberlain to
the Lakers in 1968 for Jerry Chambers, Archie Clark and Darrall
Still, Snider said "half the league" had called about Iverson's
While Iverson's maybe a half-step slower than he was 10 years
ago, that's still a step quicker than most players in the league.
Iverson leads the league in scoring with 31.2 points, averages 42.7
minutes and 2.2 steals, making it easy to imagine him providing a
needed jolt to a franchise trying to make a championship run.
King reportedly had a deal to send Iverson to Boston around NBA
draft night, but the Celtics no longer have the No. 7 draft pick
they were dangling as bait. King is close friends with Indiana
Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh, making it likely those two talked about a
deal (perhaps involving point guard Jamaal Tinsley?).
Denver (with Andre Miller); Minnesota (with King fan Randy
Foye); and even still the Celtics remain strong targets.
Minnesota's Kevin Garnett and Boston's Paul Pierce openly have
campaigned for their general managers to bring Iverson in, surely
forming what might be a 1-2 punch toward the playoffs.
But could they fit? After all, Iverson never clicked with Jerry
Stackhouse, Larry Hughes, Keith Van Horn or Glenn Robinson and
couldn't win with Chris Webber.
The next time Iverson is late for practice, skips a team
function or clashes with a coach, King simply can smile. Iverson
will be stirring with some other team, and won't be the Sixers'
But when Iverson rattles off a stretch of 30-point games, packs
arenas with his electrifying play and leads a team to the playoffs,
King will have to wonder why the relationship had to sour like it
"Allen has done a lot of great things for this organization and
I wish him well," Snider said.
(China Daily via AP December 12, 2006)