NBA PM: Iverson Should Take D-League Job
Allen Iverson has been trying to return to the NBA for several years, but he’s not willing to play in the NBA’s Development League to revive his career. The 37-year-old recently turned down an offer from the Texas Legends, the Dallas Mavericks’ D-League affiliate.
The Legends had been recruiting Iverson for quite awhile, but made their strongest push to sign Iverson last week because they were first in the D-League’s waiver line. All Iverson had to do was enter his name in the D-League’s player pool and he would’ve been signed, just as Delonte West and Rashad McCants did last week. However, the former MVP wasn’t interested in playing for a D-League team.
“I thank Donnie [Nelson] and Dallas for the consideration and while I think the D-League is a great opportunity, it is not the route for me,” Iverson tweeted.
The D-League would’ve been a great opportunity for Iverson to show that he can still play at a high level and contribute to a team. It also would’ve shown teams that he was ready to swallow his pride and do whatever it takes to return to the NBA. The main reason that teams have been afraid to sign Iverson is because he still viewed himself as a starting-caliber player and became upset when his minutes were cut or when his role was diminished during his final years in the league. Teams know that he still has talent, but the general consensus is that he’s no longer worth the baggage that comes along with that talent.
By playing in the D-League, Iverson may have been able to prove that he had finally changed. Instead, executives will see this refusal to play in the D-League as the latest example of Iverson refusing to accept that he’s declined since the days when he was an 11-time NBA All-Star and four-time scoring champion.
Iverson wouldn’t have been the first notable NBA player to use a D-League stint to revive his career. Jamaal Tinsley, Gerald Green, Bobby Simmons and Mike James used short stints in the D-League to get back on an NBA roster. Others, such as Antoine Walker, Rafer Alston, Ricky Davis and Greg Ostertag, played in the D-League but didn’t get signed by an NBA team.
However, Iverson is hoping to skip the D-League step and just go straight to the NBA. He has made it clear that he still wants to play in the league.
“My dream has always been to complete my legacy in the NBA,” Iverson tweeted. “To my fans, I love ya’ll! Not a day goes by that I am not asked when am I coming back, we all must accept my return is not up to just me. I realize my actions contributed to my early departure from the NBA, should God provide me another opportunity I will give it my all.”
This is nothing new. Iverson has been lobbying for a roster spot for several years, but he never received significant interest from an NBA team. If teams weren’t willing to sign Iverson to a low-risk, veteran’s veteran-minimum deal two years ago, when he was 35 years old and less than one year removed from playing in the NBA, why would they sign him now when he’s 37 years old and hasn’t played professional basketball since January of 2011 when he had to leave the Turkish club Besiktas to undergo calf surgery? While Iverson has had someone on his behalf contact NBA trainers since then in an effort to get in shape for a comeback, it’s unlikely that teams will suddenly change their mind on Iverson and sign him.
While Iverson had an outstanding 14-year NBA career and solidified himself as one of the best guards of a generation, it’s unlikely that he’ll get another chance to play in the NBA. That is, unless he’s willing to put his ego aside and accept a D-League offer. That may be the only way that he can change how he’s viewed and prove that he still has something left in the tank. But even then, nothing is guaranteed.
Former NBA Players to Take the Court During All-Star Weekend
There are plenty of games associated with All-Star Weekend. In the past, All-Star Weekend had games for celebrities, young players, D-League prospects and, well, actual All-Stars. Now, there’s another game that will be played during this year’s All-Star Weekend in Houston and it will feature former players.
The Original Legends Game, which will be played at the University of Houston’s Hofheinz Pavilion on February 16, will include Tim Hardaway, Christian Laettner, Steve Francis, James Worthy, Michael Finley, Sam Cassell, Theo Ratliff, Shawn Kemp, Dominique Wilkins, Bonzi Wells and James Posey among others.
The Legends Entertainment Group and McNeil Marketing Group organized the game. Not only will the former NBA players compete in the main game, they will also be participating in a three-point contest and other events at the Hofheinz Pavilion.
Arn Tellum Calls for Players to Remove Billy Hunter
In a 1,500 word letter, long-time NBA agent Arn Tellum is urging players to replace Billy Hunter, the president of the National Basketball Players Association, at the annual players’ meeting that will be held next month during All-Star Weekend. An outside audit recently criticized Hunter on a wide range of issues and Tellum believes the players need new representation. Tellum’s letter, which was obtained by Howard Beck of The New York Times, is heavily critical of Hunter. Here’s some of what Tellum wrote:
“As your agent and advisor, I feel obligated to give you my take on the situation. If I had committed any of Mr. Hunter’s transgressions, you would have rightly fired me and hired someone else to protect your interests. Regardless of how you feel toward Mr. Hunter personally, these findings leave no doubt that he put his personal gain above those of the players. Sadly, the report concludes that Mr. Hunter’s lapses in judgment have clearly caused financial and professional harm to every NBA player.
Mr. Hunter has coasted on a wave while exploiting your hard-earned successes for the benefit of himself, his relatives and his business associates.
I recognize that, ultimately, Mr. Hunter’s fate is a matter for the players to decide. I also recognize my duty to look out for my clients. Hunter is betting that the players – historically passive — will let him slide. I hope you don’t. Clearly, Hunter has violated your trust.
You need a strong union to represent you, to protect your rights and to prepare for the next round of labor negotiations in five years. I urge you to ask your player representatives to instruct Mr. Hunter not to attend the players meeting during the All-Star Game so that he cannot continue to intimidate and manipulate. In fact, no union employee should be allowed to attend the event. This would ensure that the independent law firm can present its findings directly to the players and answer their questions. Players should meet the investigators with no outsiders present. Otherwise, players could be pressured while discussing and making recommendations about Mr. Hunter’s future.
I implore you to hold Mr. Hunter accountable for his egregious behavior. The union belongs to the players. Mr. Hunter works for you, though he clearly doesn’t realize it. If you don’t act now, Mr. Hunter’s treachery will stand and the players’ ability to point their union in the right direction will be delayed and compromised to your continued detriment.
NBA players deserve better representation from the union they fund. I implore you and your fellow players to take control of your union and your future. It’s time for Mr. Hunter to go.”
To read the full letter from Tellum, click here.