Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:15 pm Post subject: So where will Iverson end up?
So where will Iverson end up?
Mike Kahn / FOXSports.com
Posted: 56 minutes ago
What once was merely a theoretical question has evolved into a real life problem for Philadelphia 76ers president Billy King.
What is fair trade value for Allen Iverson?
And more important at least for King and the Sixers is can they get anything close to it in light of Iverson's reported demand for a trade?
Allen Iverson has reportedly demanded a trade. And Mike Kahn has come up with four likely trading partners for the 76ers. Which one do you think makes the most sense? Or should Philly hold onto its disgruntled superstar? Here's your chance to voice your opinion.
Over the next couple of weeks, it will be interesting to see what kind of response King can come up with for The Answer.
The 31-year-old guard has befuddled the critics for years, winning four scoring titles, leading the Sixers and coach Larry Brown to the 2001 Finals, but combining a disdain for practice and other team functions with an occasional disregard for the law.
And this reported confrontation with King comes on the heels of Iverson blowing off a team function at a bowling alley.
To be fair, Iverson isn't demanding a trade because he was fined for missing the function. He wants out because the team has lost 12 of 14 and there is no reason for optimism with this group.
The question of investing in Iverson shouldn't even be about the baggage of his mercurial personality or whether he dominates the ball too much for other players to be effective with him. The former Georgetown star is one of the few automatic draws in the league, and with so many franchises struggling, plenty of teams should line up to add his numbers of 31.2 points, 7.3 assists and 2.2 steals, which are far from fraudulent.
In fact, over the summer the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks made the most noise about wanting Iverson, but King refused to pull the trigger. The Minnesota Timberwolves also make a lot of sense, considering how urgently they want to put a winner next to Kevin Garnett.
And the late comer in the Iverson sweepstakes before the season and the one that makes the most sense now would be the Denver Nuggets.
Of course, there is more to this story than just a volatile superstar who plays as hard as anybody who has ever played the game. He has had a plethora of injuries that have crept up over the years, and at his age the $18 million, $20 million and $22 million left on his contract might be a huge gamble for some.
But in the case of the Celtics, Hawks, Timberwolves and Nuggets, there are reasons why a deal would work well both ways.
Among the teams interested in Allen Iverson, the Nuggets make the most sense. (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)
The Celtics badly wanted to match him along side high-scoring swingman Paul Pierce, who has essentially been going it alone with a bunch of very young players not ready to compete on a nightly basis in the NBA. Sure, Danny Ainge got him Wally Szczerbiak, but he's erratic and a one-dimensional scorer. Szczerbiak is fine as your No. 3 guy. Not No. 2.
So here's what they do. Offer up aging Theo Ratliff's swollen salary before retirement, tough young interior player Al Jefferson, exciting young point guard Sebastian Telfair and a No. 1 pick. It gives the Sixers two young players to build around and another first-round pick, while the Celtics get a relentless competitor precisely the type of player the diehards could wrap their arms around.
Of course, that's only if the Celtics get there before the Timberwolves. With an offer of Randy Foye, Ricky Davis, Troy Hudson and Eddie Griffin, the Sixers would get plenty of help for their struggling backcourt and another shot-blocker in Griffin. It also could help facilitate a multi-team swap with a number of movable contracts which would most likely have to be the case in this scenario.
The Hawks are a logical option, if only because Atlanta is where Iverson makes his off-season home. The problem is they don't have much to move because their contracts are so small, with the exception of brilliant young swingman Joe Johnson and the Hawks aren't moving Johnson. But an offer of disappointing young swingman Marvin Williams, Speedy Claxton, Josh Childress and a couple of other small contracts could work for the Sixers. Nobody could use the boost at the gate more than the perennially poor-drawing Hawks, no matter how much the numbers are up this season.
The thing is, there is a team that makes the most sense of all, and that's where the Nuggets come in. Carmelo Anthony is already a huge fan of Iverson's from their time together at the 2004 Olympics. 'Melo, who's developed to the point where he's leading the NBA in scoring, just needs a superstar partner to take this team into serious contention. A combination of Andre Miller, Joe Smith, J.R. Smith and a No. 1 pick works very well for both teams. There is no better sports town out West than Denver, with its young and furious crowd.
Add in the intensity of coach George Karl, whose successful handling of Anthony and Gary Payton far overshadows the issues he's had with Kenyon Martin, and they move right into contention with the Spurs, Mavs and Suns to be the West's elite team.
In other words, the Nuggets are the best fit for A.I., leaving us with the question of whether or not owner Stan Kroenke is willing to cough up $60 million for The Answer.
Veteran NBA reporter Mike Kahn is a frequent contributor to FOXSports.com.