Posted on: November 16, 2009 5:21 pm
ATLANTA -- As you can see, I'm in Atlanta, where Allen Iverson lives and where the front desk clerk who checked me into the Embassy Suites was named "Iverston." He's from Roosevelt, N.Y., like one of A.I.'s idols, Julius Erving.
Iverston smiled when I joked that his name is only one letter off from a certain unhappy point guard who is hanging around these parts. And he'll be here for a while, from the looks of things, as the Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that the Grizzlies have agreed to waive the disgruntled former scoring champion.
Details are still emerging, but the move was a foregone conclusion once the Grizzlies came to terms with Jamaal Tinsley over the weekend. Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley, whose idea it was to sign Iverson to a one-year, $3.1 million contract, then gave Iverson an ultimatum to decide whether he is returning to the team.
The question now is whether another team will take a chance on Iverson or whether he simply will do what he said last season he would do if confronted with the reality of no longer being an NBA starter: retire.
Posted on: November 7, 2009 9:37 pm
Allen Iverson has left the Memphis Grizzlies amid conflicting reports about whether it is for personal reasons or unhappiness with his role.
The accelerated news cycle demands immediate reaction, opinion, and conclusions. Sometimes these conclusions are drawn when athletes' personal lives are involved. Sometimes, those conclusions are dead wrong.
We don't know if anything serious is wrong in Iverson's life, other than the fact that he's not starting for the Grizzlies and has made his opinion about that abundantly clear. (Hint: He feels the same way about coming off the bench in Memphis as he did in Detroit.) We do know that, given Iverson's history, his incessant griping about coming off the bench, and his vow last season that he'd retire before doing that again, there's ample evidence for you to assume the worst.
Either way, Iverson flew to his home in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon, hours before the Grizzlies were scheduled to play the Clippers in Los Angeles. This came after meeting with team owner Michael Heisley on Friday night and again Saturday morning, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported. The team described his return as "undetermined." That's an ominous word, but this has been an ominous and awkward union from the beginning.
It was never a good idea for the Grizzlies, who are 1-5 to no one's surprise and going nowhere, to hook up with Iverson at this point in his career. The warning signs were there in Detroit last season, even though Iverson was by no means the only one in the wrong there. I still believe Iverson could've helped a serious title contender if he was able to swallow his pride and accept a sixth-man role. He does not want to accept such a role, even if it meant getting the championship that has eluded him during an otherwise brilliant career. Why would anyone think he'd accept that role in Memphis, where the Grizzlies aren't even the best basketball team in their own city?
The point is, even if Iverson's excused absence from the Grizzlies is for a legitimate reason, how is anything going to change when he returns? It's not. You knew this wasn't going to end well, and now it appears to have careened into a ditch only six games into the season. Hate to say it, but both sides should've seen it coming.
Posted on: November 2, 2009 10:12 am
Edited on: November 2, 2009 1:49 pm
The Celtics' $55 million game of poker with Rajon Rondo is over. After two weeks of posturing, the two sides have agreed to a five-year extension that will keep the point guard from becoming a restricted free agent next summer, a person familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com on Monday.
The $55 million extension came hours before a midnight Tuesday deadline for 2006 draft picks to sign extensions with their current teams. The lone high-profile holdout is Rudy Gay, whose representatives have continued to work with GM Chris Wallace on getting a deal done.
UPDATE: Only a week ago, it seemed that Celtics president Danny Ainge and Rondo's agent, Bill Duffy, were too far apart to get a deal in place before the league-imposed deadline. As a matter of procedure, the Oct. 31 deadline was extended through Monday, the next official business day.
Ainge and Duffy met at halftime of the Celtics' opener at Cleveland on Oct. 27, and things seemed bleak. Ainge told Duffy he was interested in completing a deal, but wanted Duffy to move off his desire for a contract averaging north of $10 million annually.
"And I said, 'Danny, I don’t know if we’re gonna move,'" Duffy said in a telephone interview Monday. "'I respect where you're coming from. If you have any other thoughts or ideas, I'm open to it.'" You have to give him credit. He stuck with it."
Still, no substantive talks took place until Sunday, when Duffy called Ainge to let him know Rondo was prepared to play out the scenario and hit the restricted market next July. According to Duffy, Ainge told him he'd ask owner Wyc Grousbeck to sign off on the five-year, $55 million deal, which was being finalized Monday afternoon.
Rondo, who will turn 24 in February, has the Celtics off to a 4-0 start marked by the return of Kevin Garnett from knee surgery and the addition of free agent Rasheed Wallace. But for all the firepower presented by Wallace and the Big Three, Rondo makes the Celtics go. But some issues had to be resolved first. Ainge and coach Doc Rivers had publicly and privately challenged Rondo to become more of a leader during the offseason. The remarks prompted widespread speculation that Rondo would be traded rather than given an extension offer.
Before the Celtics' season opener in Cleveland last week, Rondo admitted that the extension deadline was "crazy timing," but vowed to push the distraction out of his mind as the Celtics opened their pursuit of an 18th NBA championship. "It'll take care of itself," Rondo said. "I've just got to worry about doing my job."
UPDATE: Duffy said it would've been human nature for Rondo to let the contract situation affect his play.
"As much as a player would say that it’s not an issue, he’s a human being, so it’d have to be in the back of his mind," Duffy said. "But that being said, more than most athletes I've worked with, I don’t think it would’ve affected him much at all because he’s so focused and so competitive. I think he would've used it as a motivator as opposed to feeling insecure about his future."
With Ray Allen becoming an unrestricted free agent after the season and Paul Pierce possessing a player option, the Rondo signing removes some of the uncertainty about how the Celtics will move forward after they finish chasing their second title in three years. Garnett and Wallace are both signed for two more seasons after this one.
And after the upheaval surrounding Rondo this past summer, the extension is all the proof you need that the Celtics have decided that Rondo has grown up enough to lead them into the post-Big Three era. Whether Rondo, who plays best with a grudge, will continue that trend with his future decided is an open question. When he's playing with abandon and chippiness -- as he did Sunday night in a 97-87 victory over the Hornets -- Rondo is at his best. When his hopes of getting an extension withered about a week ago, I thought there was the potential for that to be positive for both sides. Rondo would play with even more nastiness, and that would only benefit the Celtics, who have a veteran team that needs to win another title before the window of opportunity closes.
My answer seemed to come from Rondo's contentious battle with New Orleans counterpart Chris Paul on Sunday night. After Duffy and Ainge agreed in principle before the game, Rondo went into full agitator mode against Paul. Both players got technicals after a tussle under the basket, and they exchanged words and had to be separated after the final buzzer. Paul won the battle of the box score with 22 points, eight assists, and two steals. Rondo had six points, 10 assists, and three steals -- but his team won the game.
That pretty much defines Rondo, one of the rising point guards in the NBA. It defines his team, too. No organization has won more championships than the Celtics, who know a winner when they see one.
Posted on: October 30, 2009 9:22 am
The looming deadline for extending the contracts of 2006 draft picks presents an intriguing dilemma for the Celtics -- and for Rajon Rondo.
Posted on: September 9, 2009 2:59 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2009 7:33 pm
It seems poetic that Allen Iverson announced his signing with the Memphis Grizzlies on Twitter. Think I'm too old? I'll break news on a medium that most 34-year-olds don't understand.
Posted on: July 31, 2009 10:41 am
Edited on: July 31, 2009 3:48 pm
Ramon Sessions is expecting offer sheets from the Knicks and Clippers, with New York the favorite to land the Bucks' restricted free agent.
Sessions' agent, Chubby Wells, has exchanged proposals with both teams over the past few days and anticipates closing the deal with one of them as early as Friday. The Bucks, who already gave up their rights to restricted free agent Charlie Villanueva earlier this summer, are not expected to match the offer sheet, according to a person familiar with their thinking.
UPDATE: Before getting involved with Sessions, the Knicks are focusing on Jason Williams and have been granted an exclusive, five-day window to negotiate a deal with the unretired point guard, Yahoo! Sports reported. Williams, 33, must navigate a minefield of beaurocracy after filing retirement papers last September, only a month after signing a one-year deal with the Clippers. L.A. relinquished its exclusive rights to negotiate with Williams last week. Any team wanting to acquire those rights would have to claim Williams off waivers first.
Hakim Warrick, whose qualifying offer was withdrawn by Memphis as a precursor to moving him in a sign-and-trade or clearing his $6 million cap hold by rescinding his rights, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Bucks, according to NBA front office sources. The Cavs and Sixers also were in pursuit of Warrick, a 6-9 forward who averaged 11.6 points and 5.0 rebounds for Memphis last season. Milwaukee's decision to draft point guard Brandon Jennings with the 10th overall pick also signaled to rival executives that the Bucks would be unlikely to match offer sheets for Sessions. The Cavs, meanwhile, have made a contract offer to Celtics free agent Leon Powe, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which says Powe is ahead of schedule in his recovery from reconstructive knee surgery.
Another consideration for the Knicks reportedly is Allen Iverson, 34, who would accept a one-year deal at the $5.9 million mid-level exception, thus preserving precious cap space for next summer. Sessions, 23, would require a multi-year offer sheet, but is younger and less risky than Iverson. But a person with direct knowledge of the Knicks' plans squashed any notion of A.I. coming to New York with the following description of the Knicks' interest in the future Hall of Famer: "Zero."
Posted on: July 8, 2009 11:32 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2009 8:13 am
UPDATES THROUGHOUT with further details:
Shawn Marion is headed from Toronto to Dallas in a complicated, four-team sign-and-trade that also sends Jerry Stackhouse temporarily to Memphis and delivers a sizeable trade exception to Orlando, pending league approval on Thursday, four sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.
Posted on: July 1, 2009 10:19 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2009 11:34 pm
There must be more than meets the eye when it comes to the trade reported by the Los Angeles Times in which the Clippers send Zach Randolph to the Memphis Grizzlies for Quentin Richardson. Z-Bo makes $6.6 million more than Q-Rich and has two years left on his contract as opposed to Richardson's one. Memphis is under the cap, so the trade doesn't have to satisfy the 125 percent rule. Still, the Clippers should feel fortunate to have found such a willing taker.