Monthly Archives: July 2009

From the Answer to a Cancer – why does the whole of the NBA want nothing to do with Allen Iverson?

No doubt: Allen Iverson is a fantastic player: a true warrior. Since entering the league as the #1 pick in 1996, A.I has a career average of 27.1 points, was the NBA MVP in 2001 and is a 10 time All-Star – maybe even a future Hall of Famer. But after a disastrous stint with the Detroit Pistons, no team in the NBA wants anything to do with him. Detroit showed that Iverson disrupted a team’s chemistry and wasn’t a veteran that could mesh with a team and fit in well.

With many of the top free agents available this summer already signed up, like Jason Kidd, Ron Artest, Trevor Ariza, Charlie V and Ben Gordon – why has A.I not found a new home? There has been concerns that he would be disruptive to a team’s dressing room, that he would be unwilling to be a #2 option on a team, or even come off the bench. Iverson said last season he would rather retire than play as a reserve – but surely this isn’t the right way for a player of Iverson’s calibre to bow out?

The Grizzlies have considered signing Iverson, as they are a team that desperately needs to sell tickets. Numerous problems exist here: would having A.I and Z-Bo (Zach Randolph, who joined the Grizzlies in a trade with the Clippers last week) disrupt the young talent of OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay and Hasheem Thabeet? And would Iverson be willing to come off the bench in Memphis? Surely you can’t expect A.I to have to back up Mike Conley?

Iverson has put Miami at the top of his wish list, looking forward to playing with Dwayne Wade. Wade himself has stated he wants A.I on his team, saying “You can’t turn your nose up at Allen Iverson”. A.I and Wade would make for an exciting backcourt for the Heat and give Miami that elusive second scorer that they have been after.

The problems? Iverson’s arrival could stunt the growth of second-year guard Mario Chalmers, who Miami hope to be their point guard of the future. Would Iverson be willing to play a sixth man role behind Chalmers? I don’t think he should. As a big A.I fan, I believe he should start for the Heat. Then there’s the problem of Iverson liking the ball to be in his hands, when everything in the Heat offence runs through Wade.

Other places for A.I? Much has been said about a reunion with Larry Brown in Charlotte. Iverson and Brown each have huge respect for each other, having flourished in the glory days in Philly, when they reached the NBA finals in 2001. The Bobcats need scoring desperately, and A.I can offer that. He’s just turned 34, but Iverson still has something to offer. He could return to Philly, the place that he established himself as a legend, and with an improved team containing the likes of Elton Brand, Dre Igoudala and Thaddeus Young, the Sixers could make some noise in the East next season.

Where do I think A.I will go? He may have to accept a one year deal and he won’t be making anywhere near the $21 million he picked up last year , but I think Iverson has a place on South Beach. Forget all the rumours about going to Memphis, there is time for a new A.I experiment? He and Wade may be able to accomplish what he and Carmelo failed to do, and it’s a concept that is worth a second shot for a single season. You never know, it might be enough to keep D-Wade in a Heat jersey for the next few years….

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The Celtics should have gone for youth instead of signing Sheed

In an offseason that has already seen the NBA’s elite upgrade their rosters for a shot at the championship next season, one more big name has jumped ship to contend for a championship. The Lakers have got Artest, the Cavs got Shaq, Orlando got Vince , the Spurs traded for Richard Jefferson and now the Boston Celtics have announced they have signed former All-Star Rasheed Wallace on a two-year contract.

Sheed, whose contract expired on July 1, spent six seasons playing for the Detroit Pistons and won an NBA championship in 2004. He joins a Celtics team packed with All-Stars in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen that is hoping for a final shot at a championship.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge was on a recruitment mission to capture ‘Sheed, showing up on his doorstep in the Detroit suburbs the night free agency opened. Ainge was joined by KG, Pierce and Allen, who convinced the 35 year old to join the C’s.

The arrival of Sheed does give the Celtics of solid line up, with KG, Pierce, Allen and Rajon Rondo, they can compete in what will be a much-improved and more competitive Eastern Conference next year. The only problem is, the Celtics are OLD. Their best players are all the wrong side of 30. Sheed is 35, Allen and KG are 33 and Pierce is 31. Yes, they are set up for a run next season, but what about when they all retire? It would have been better for the Celtics to land someone younger, who could learn from KG, Pierce and Allen and provide a core for the future with Rondo and Kendrick Perkins. They should have followed the Spurs’ example, as the trade for Richard Jefferson gave them a shot of much-needed youth and allowed them to challenge for an additional few years before Tim Duncan retires.

Sheed himself, is surrounded by question marks. Will we see a motivated Wallace who can contribute to the Celtics’ second championship in 3 years, or will we see a repeat of his performance in the Pistons’ sweeping by the Cavs in the playoffs, where it looked like Sheed had nothing in the tank and only average 6 points throughout the series. Personally, I won’t be expecting much out of Wallace apart from hanging around the arc shooting the odd 3. Another shooter will help them, but the Celtics need a scorer, someone to create their own shot and give Pierce a rest.

Yes, the addition of Sheed is a good one for now, but not for the future. If KG can return to full fitness and their key players stay healthy, the C’s have a chance at securing their 18th NBA title. But where their competitors are getting younger and more athletic, e.g. the Cavs, the Magic and the Lakers, the Celtics’ bunch of veterans may struggle to keep up with them. But I think its either boom or bust for this team: either they fail and cannot compete with the likes of the Lakers or the Cavs and their band of All-Stars go their seperate ways and it’s time to rebuild: or KG’s promise of back-to-back championships come true: just look at the San Antonio Spurs – everyone always writes them off – but 4 championships in 10 years speaks for itself… and the Celtics’ will be looking to put last seasons dissapointment behind them and prove their doubters wrong.