NBA Sunday: Iverson Wants Boston
Iverson Thinks Boston Could Work
We all know what a mess things have been for Allen Iverson over the course of the last few years. Stints in Detroit and Philadelphia—and most famously his sad three-game excursion in Memphis—did not end well, mostly because Iverson had a hard time accepting the fact that he was no longer a starter-quality player in the NBA.
But an unsuccessful year (okay, two months) in Turkey, followed by a calf surgery in January and 10 more months to figure out what to do with his life have given The Answer some perspective on his life as a basketball player. According to the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn, who spoke with Iverson’s manager, Gary Moore, Iverson is ready to return to the NBA in the role he should have accepted three or more seasons ago—as a reserve.
And where would a reserve like Iverson fit in? Moore thinks Boston is an ideal situation for a lot of reasons.
“Boston is particularly attractive to [Iverson] because of Danny Ainge, the organization, and one of the most respected coaches he knows in the business in Doc Rivers,” Moore told Washburn.
“He has the utmost respect for Doc Rivers and the current roster of players. Allen would relish the opportunity to play in that organization.’’
For an older player looking to retire in style, perhaps with a championship ring, Boston does make some sense. The Celtics only have six players under contract for next year—six players who already have most of Boston’s money in 2012 spoken for—so inexpensive talent like Iverson (presumably for the veteran’s minimum) is what they’re going to have to chase after, anyway.
Also, the core in place in Beantown probably only has one year left together before all that’s left is Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce. That means if Iverson wanted one more year to wrap up his NBA legacy in a more positive light while playing for a team he likes and potentially chasing a championship, he’d have a hard time finding a better situation.
There also is a pretty good possibility that Iverson could be content there for a full season, because if he has any chance at backing up a player without complaining, a fellow Hall-of-Famer like Ray Allen is about as good as it gets. Iverson would have little interest—if not at first, then eventually—in playing behind a younger player, especially if that young player was someone Iverson felt he could outplay. Iverson and Ray Allen have a mutual respect that would make Iverson’s role as a reserve a little easier to swallow.
Despite all that, it seems like the moral of the story here is that AI wants an opportunity to end his career with more dignity than the situations that wrapped up in Detroit, Memphis, and Turkey.
It’s not an entirely outrageous plan, and if any NBA team were able to accommodate Iverson’s fragile ego, Boston could very well be the team that gets it done. However, convincing an NBA team to take on Iverson is a tougher task than it sounds like, especially with the way he left things with each of his last four NBA teams.
Durant Weighing His Options
The NBPA will take the NBA’s most recent offer to their 30 player reps on Monday and see if they think the thing is worth taking a full vote on. We’ve covered—and will continue to cover—what’s going on with the lockout ad nauseam, but truthfully there’s no way to predict exactly how all that will turn out, despite the rumblings and rumors rolling out of meetings the last few days.
However, something we can say with almost absolute certainty is that if the league does not accept the latest offer and chooses to decertify, the season is probably lost, and the exodus of players overseas will go from a trickling faucet to fire hose on full-bore.
One player we might lose to Europe is Kevin Durant, who thus far has only flirted with the idea of playing overseas. However, Durant told Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears that he’s not in favor of taking the current deal, and that he plans on considering other professional playing options now more than ever before.
“I know it’s not a good one,” Durant said of the proposed deal. “It’s not the one that we want. …If it’s not a good deal, I don’t see why we should take it, especially this late.”
“I’m right on the fence with playing overseas and I’m about to jump over,” Durant said. One report suggests that Spanish club Valencia offered Durant $475,000 a month to play in Spain during the lockout, but Durant’s camp reportedly wanted significantly more, perhaps upwards of $675,000 a month.
Either way, it’s not like Durant necessarily needs the money, even missing NBA paychecks. He’s receiving an increasing number of endorsements, and even filmed his first movie in recent months. He’ll survive financially with or without a season, but the competitive need to continue playing professionally could be enough to entice him overseas.
Fans—and that includes us writers—hope deep down that the players vote to accept the deal on Monday, even if it’s not the most attractive deal the Players Association has ever seen. But if they do turn it down, as Durant thinks they should, then the number of players who opt for other pro leagues is really going to increase pretty quickly.
Durant’s soiree in Spain or somewhere else would never interfere with NBA games, but there is always that risk of injury, and the thought of him leaving the U.S. would feel, at least symbolically, like a show of pessimism for a 2011-2012 season. Pessimism isn’t what we need right now. We’ve had plenty of that already.