Posted on by Dal
The AJC's Jeff Schultz wrote an interesting blog about Allen Iverson ending up in a Hawks' jersey next season.
He still has three years and $60 million left on his contract, but the idea of putting AI and Joe Johnson in the backcourt, with Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia and Marvin Williams up front has to be intriguing to coach Mike Woodson and the Hawks. If nothing else, there would actually be some excitement at Phillips Arenas next year. Iverson appears to have worn out his welcome in Philly after ticking GM Billy King off by being late to the Sixers' final game this season. We'll see.
Get Iverson, Hawks
By Jeff Schultz
Monday, May 22, 2006
There is a gremlin sitting on the Hawks' shoulder, saying what all gremlins say: "Do it."
The Hawks are off the radar on the Atlanta sports scene. They are off the board annually in playoff races by December. They have a chance to get one of the NBA's premier players.
"Do it. Come on. You know you want to. What else are you going to do? Draft some guy from Italy?"
Allen Iverson scores points. He sells tickets. Those are two things that put him ahead of almost everybody else. Isn't that enough to overlook the other junk stuffed in the luggage compartment?
The Hawks just won 26 games, and that was after improvement. Is it worth a risk to become, like, relevant?
"Do it, do it, do it!"
Another offseason and another rebuilding project awaits. Is it time to throw the dice yet?
They have thought about it. They have talked about it. Dude, don't be naive --- of course they have talked about it. When you run a franchise and finish last and have to dive into the cesspool of more postseason analysis, you talk about everything. You certainly talk about Allen Iverson.
I have had several conversations with myself about Allen Iverson. I have told myself to shut up. I have tried to talk myself out of it. I can't. Gremlins.
Iverson will be 31 next month. He was still the NBA's second-leading scorer this season at 33 points per game. That ranked just behind Kobe Bryant and just ahead of LeBron James, neither of whom are available.
He averaged 7.4 assists. Say what you want about Iverson hogging the ball, particularly for a point guard. But those 7.4 assists ranked ahead of any Hawks player.
So. A backcourt with Allen Iverson and Joe Johnson. Reminds me of an old question back in the Jurassic: "Do the Hawks play tonight?"
This isn't a new rumor. It's an old rumor with new juice. Word first drifted out of Philadelphia early in the season that Iverson wanted out. The Hawks were mentioned as a possible destination because the Hawks always are mentioned as a possible destination. It's the residue of having salary cap room. And agents.
Iverson-to-Atlanta (or anywhere) was resuscitated when the Sixers went 8-16 down the stretch and missed the playoffs. Iverson and his partner in baggage, Chris Webber, planned to sit out the year's home finale. They didn't arrive until just before tip-off. They weren't on the bench for fan appreciation night. Oops.
General manager Billy King didn't take it well. He fined both and, in a profanity-laced tirade, said: "We didn't make the playoffs. I've got a lot of [bleep!] work to do, and this is some [bleep!] that's a distraction to me. Am I [bleep!] off? You're [bleep!] right I am."
King did not state: "A.I. is gone."
Neither did he state: "A.I.'s my man."
A.I. stands for, "Available immediately."
I know. For every pro, there's a con. Maybe even an ex-con. But let's put the entourage aside for now.
There's that practice thing. Iverson doesn't like it. There's that money thing. It's a long, expensive risk. Iverson has three seasons left on his contract totaling $60.328 million. If it didn't work out, it would be a mistake of Koncakian proportions.
Iverson could negatively impact the Hawks' younger players. He is not known as the nurturing sort. He is not first on the list of guys you think of who would say, "Please coach, let me be the one to show Josh Smith how to win."
But Hawks coach Mike Woodson would know what he's getting into. He was an assistant in Philly. There's always that chance, too, that a change of scenery would give Iverson new perspective.
Hey. There's a chance, OK?
Billy Knight started this project by cleaning out big contracts. The net result: 39 wins, 125 losses and holes. How much better can they realistically expect to be next season without a bold move?
Iverson would give the Hawks a presence. A toughness. A guy who actually wants the ball when the game's on the line.
He has flaws. Big ones. But stars without flaws generally aren't available, so we debate risk-reward. Iverson scores points and sells tickets, and the guy on my shoulder won't shut up.