Posted on: February 23, 2010 12:05 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2010 5:34 pm

Source: Iverson deadline next week

If Allen Iverson can't make it back to the Philadelphia 76ers by next week, a parting of ways between the iconic star and the city where he tried to resurrect his career will be inevitable, a person with close ties to the future Hall of Famer told CBSSports.com Tuesday.

"For the team's sake and his own sake, he can't keep trying to go back and forth with this," the person said. "If he can't get back by next week, it's probably not going to work."

Contrary to Iverson's often stormy history with the organization, sources described his indefinite leave of absence as "amicable" and "nothing sinister." Iverson has been in and out of the lineup in recent weeks while he tends to his ill daughter.

The Sixers tried to make it work with Iverson, getting an initial spark in attendance and excitement from his return. But Philly plays Orlando on Monday and Atlanta on Wednesday, and if Iverson can't commit to returning to the team by then, the wheels will be in motion for his release.

News of Iverson's predicament, which could well signal the end of his career, made me think back to comments from one of his friends and former teammates during All-Star weekend. Carmelo Anthony, perhaps the only star player who's ever been able to co-exist productively with Iverson, was asked what A.I.'s legacy will be -- if, in fact, this is the end for one of the greatest athletes ever to appear on an NBA court.

"His legacy is self explanatory," Anthony said. "He came into the NBA and almost changed the whole game of basketball in his own way."

The key words being "in his own way." To the end, Iverson never compromised. He lost the cornrows only briefly, sporting a haircut during All-Star weekend in Phoenix in 2009. He gave up on winning a championship when he accepted money from the Memphis Grizzlies, and then from the Philadelphia 76ers -- choosing his "happiness" over more lofty goals that have eluded him since he turned the NBA on its head as the No. 1 pick in the 1996 draft.

Now, Iverson is dealing with something no parent ever wants to even think about -- a sick child who needs him. No one will ever dispute the importance of that. It simply isn't debatable. Neither is the Sixers' right to move forward without Iverson if he can't uphold his commitment to the team.

"He’s always going to go down as one of the greatest players to ever play," Anthony said. "Whether they say 6-feet-or-under or whatever. Regardless of height, he’s going to be one of the greatest. I was fortunate enough to play with him for two years. It seems like a long time ago, but it was only two years ago when I played with him and he averaged 26, 27 points. In the last year and a half was when everything went south for him."

I shared my thoughts about Iverson before he signed with the Sixers, when it appeared that his NBA career was over. Now it seems like that career obituary was only premature by a couple of months.

Anthony called Iverson's stubborn insistence on doing this his way "a positive and a negative. When he came into the league, I don’t think anybody was expecting that type of player, that type of person to come into the league. He made fans embrace him, and they stuck with him all the way until today."

Now, the NBA is more than ready to move past Iverson's "me" generation of stars. Could Iverson have compromised? Could he have changed his game, extended his career, given himself a chance to add a championship to his resume if only he could have accepted coming off the bench for a contender? Sure. But when it comes to A.I., it's pointless to even ask such questions.

What you saw was what you got. Like a comet, Iverson was something to watch until he flamed out in spectacular fashion -- which was the only way this was ever going to end.

One more thing about Iverson: Drama walks in lock step with him wherever he goes. When it comes to The Answer, another plot twist or two isn't out of the question.

Posted on: November 30, 2009 4:04 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2009 5:03 pm

Sixers meet with Iverson in Dallas (UPDATE)

Free agent Allen Iverson met for two hours in Dallas on Monday with 76ers president Ed Stefanski and coach Eddie Jordan, the first step in a possible reunion between the controversial star and the team that launched his career.

Stefanski issued the following statement on the team's web site after the meeting, held hours before Philadelphia was to continue a four-game Western swing against the Mavericks:

"This afternoon, we met with free agent Allen Iverson in Dallas for the first formal discussion regarding a possible return to the Philadelphia 76ers. The meeting lasted approximately two hours and covered a variety of topics, all of which we would prefer to keep between the team and Allen. The meeting was attended by Allen, his agent Leon Rose, and his personal manager Gary Moore, along with 76ers senior vice president/assistant general manager Tony DiLeo, head coach Eddie Jordan, assistant coach Aaron McKie, and me. At this time, both parties remain non-committal regarding a final decision and we will continue to discuss internally whether or not to pursue this course. We want to thank Allen, Leon, and Gary for taking the time to meet with us today. The Sixers will have no further comment at this time and further updates will be provided as they become available."

The two sides got together after Iverson spent the past week manipulating media coverage in his favor -- first, announcing his retirement on long-time confidant Stephen A. Smith's personal web site, then reaching out to the Sixers through intermediaries to express his interest in returning to the team that responded to his 2006 trade demand by dealing him to Denver.

Earlier Monday, it was reported that Sixers chairman Ed Snider said the team's basketball department would have autonomy to make a call on signing Iverson. For a team struggling with attendance and unable to recapture the relevance of the Iverson era, a reunion would make perfect sense from a business standpoint. Imagine the uptick in ticket sales, not to mention jerseys and other merchandise. But ask the Grizzlies how that plan worked out; Iverson lasted only three games before leaving the team amid complaints about playing time. The Grizzlies wound up shipping 3,000 Iverson jerseys to Tanzania, the birthplace of first-round pick Hasheem Thabeet, instead of handing them out as part of a promotion at a recent game.

Other than signing with the Sixers, playing in Tanzania would seem to be Iverson's best option at this point. Former coaches and teammates (Larry Brown, Carmelo Anthony) have publicly proclaimed that they don't want to see Iverson's career end this way. Yet no team other than the Sixers has stepped forward with legitimate interest since the Knicks decided not to offer Iverson a contract on Nov. 20. Prior to meeting with Iverson, the Sixers discussed the possibility of signing him over the weekend after learning that point guard Lou Williams would miss up to eight weeks with a broken jaw.

There continue to be significant objections among the Sixers' basketball staff to adding Iverson's dominant personality to a rebuilding team that has tried to distance itself from an era that included success and a litany of distractions. Notably absent from the meeting with Iverson was assistant coach Randy Ayers, for whom Iverson once lobbied to become the Sixers' head coach before quickly turning on him and getting him fired. 

Ultimately, Jordan will have to decide if he's willing to sacrifice the offensive system and winning culture he's attempting to instill and instead hitch himself to Iverson's whims, a tactic that did not work out well for many of his predecessors.


Category: NBA
Posted on: October 31, 2009 7:14 pm

Gallinari gets start in Knicks' home opener

NEW YORK -- In the second-most significant athletic event between teams from New York and Philadelphia, Danilo Gallinari was inserted into the starting lineup Friday night for the Knicks' home opener against the 76ers.

Coach Mike D'Antoni hopes that pairing Gallinari with a more athletic lineup -- and bringing Al Harrington off the bench -- will help the Knicks shake off the slow starts that have plagued them during their 0-2 start. The Knicks have allowed 59 first-quarter points in their first two games and 107 in the first half.

Harrington, who only 10 days ago proclaimed that he's a starter and urged reporters to "write it," softened his stance considerably after D'Antoni announced the shakeup during his pre-game media session.

"I think I'm a starter, but on this team if Coach needs me to come off the bench, I'm gonna come off the bench," Harrington said. "And I'm gonna be the best bench player, too. So I'm looking forward to it."

It'll be the third career start for the 21-year-old Gallinari, who was limited to 28 games during his rookie season due to a back injury. In the Knicks' first two losses, he scored 22 and 16 points and made 10-of-20 from 3-point range.
Posted on: July 11, 2009 6:38 pm

Knicks receptive to Miller-Duhon trade

LAS VEGAS -- The Knicks are receptive to overtures from Andre Miller's agent to arrange a sign-and-trade that would swap the free-agent point guard for Chris Duhon, CBSSports.com has learned.

Miller's agent, Andy Miller, is pushing for a sign-and-trade to New York in response to the Sixers' lack of interest in bringing the 33-year-old point guard back. The Sixers have expressed a willingness to offer no more than a one-year deal at the $5.9 million mid-level exception. But a person with knowledge of the situation said Philadelphia was lukewarm about even that proposal. The Sixers' brass is ready to move on with Lou Williams at point guard and first-round pick Jrue Holiday backing him up.

The Knicks view Miller as an upgrade over Duhon, a person with knowledge of their plans said. But New York is not willing to go beyond two years on Miller's new contract.

Another team long rumored to have interest in Miller is Portland. But NBA front office sources say the Blazers are not actively pursuing Miller due to their concerns about his age and below-average perimeter shooting.
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