The Allen Iverson trade watch drags into Wednesday, and the waiting game continues. Sources around the league indicate that a deal is still imminent, but where Iverson ends up is still anyone's guess.
Reports out of Philadelphia that Iverson nixed a deal to the Bobcats were vehemently denied by GM/coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who said the only role he envisioned his team playing would be as a potential facilitator. In other words, Charlotte would be a potential third party, nothing more, in the Iverson sweepstakes.
|If A.I. and Nelly team up in Golden State, expect NBA scoreboards to get a workout. (Getty Images)|
Sacramento owners Gavin and Joe Maloof took their team out of contention Tuesday afternoon, easing the tension that developed regarding the possibility of Mike Bibby being on the move. Your floor leader wondering if he's on his way out of town is bad for business, so there was no coincidence that the Kings owners pulled out before their game in Golden State.
Boston is out, too. A Western Conference source speculated that Iverson was never headed anywhere that close in proximity to Philadelphia, regardless of how juicy a package the Celtics could've put together. While they do have the pieces to get a deal done, my indications are that they would be a last resort.
So what is King looking at as he narrows down his choices and tries to make a move by week's end? Here are six potential scenarios, mostly involving West teams, that would all work under the salary cap.
Denver: Two packages could be put out there. Point guard Andre Miller would be the focal point of one, with the expiring contract of Joe Smith and some smaller pacts also part of it. J.R. Smith is a piece the Nuggets would love to hold on to, but likely is a player King would require due to J.R.'s youth and light contract. Nene's name has been put out there as an anchor in a second package because he could be moved starting Dec. 15 after signing a six-year deal in the offseason. Nene is still struggling to get back from knee surgery, but if he can get healthy, he is the type of promising young piece the Sixers covet. It appears the only current Nugget truly safe is Carmelo Anthony.
Golden State: The Warriors also could put multiple packages out there, starting with a blockbuster that would send Baron Davis to Philadelphia in a high-profile point guard swap. Jason Richardson and Mickael Pietrus could anchor another package, and you can bet King has asked about the availability of talented, inexpensive young players Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and Patrick O'Bryant. Chris Mullin has a lot of pieces to play with if he's intent on stirring things up yet again.
Indiana: This is the lone Eastern Conference team with a decent possibility of landing A.I. The thought is that a package involving Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels and a few additional pieces could be enough to get a deal done between good friends King and Donnie Walsh.
L.A. Clippers: The underachieving Clips could make the West exceptionally interesting if they can get a deal done, and they are Iverson's best bet at joining an immediate title contender. Corey Maggette would certainly be a part of a move, likely in tandem with Cuttino Mobley and another player or two (James Singleton, Daniel Ewing, Yaroslav Korolev) to make the numbers work.
Minnesota: If it's true Randy Foye has been declared off limits, the Timberwolves won't be landing Iverson. If they cave and involve the prized rookie who played his college ball in Philly, at Villanova, a package including Ricky Davis, Eddie Griffin and either Troy Hudson or Mike James would work. The Wolves wouldn't be able to include James in a deal until Friday.
Seattle: The uncertainty of Rashard Lewis' future with the Sonics has fueled rumors that they could be a trading partner with the 76ers, likely in a package featuring disgruntled guard Earl Watson and Damien Wilkins.
Where will Iverson end up? My hunch is that he'll end up in a Golden State uniform by late Friday. Mullin isn't shy about taking risks, and he has to be dreaming about how potentially explosive the offense could be with Iverson on the court and Don Nelson on the sideline.