A place on Celtics bench would sit well with Iverson
By Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / November 13, 2011
There is a group of veteran players looking to return to the NBA if the lockout ends soon. One of those players should be intriguing to the Celtics, who will have to fill six roster spots with inexpensive veteran talent prepared to help for one last title run.
Allen Iverson has been looking for NBA work for a while now, essentially banishing himself from the league with a series of personal problems and flakiness. The widespread perception is that Iverson refused to accept that his once immense skills had declined to the point where he could no longer produce as a starter.
Unable to deal with that, Iverson pouted his way out of Detroit, Memphis, and Philadelphia.
Now, after a year off, Iverson said he is ready to end his career in a more heartening fashion. Knowing that the Celtics will be seeking help, Iverson’s manager, Gary Moore, told the Globe his client would love to come to Boston.
“I have already spoken to Allen about that and many other opportunities, and of course he would be interested in anywhere in the NBA but Boston is particularly attractive to him,’’ Moore said, “because of Danny Ainge, the organization, and one of the most respected coaches he knows in the business in Doc Rivers.
“He has the utmost respect for Doc Rivers and the current roster of players. Allen would relish the opportunity to play in that organization.’’
Iverson turned off many NBA executives by leaving the Grizzles because they used him as a bench player. He persuaded the 76ers that he was ready to return to form and contribute to a young team but he left the club because of personal issues and never returned. He hasn’t played in the NBA since February 2010, and even a brief stint with a Turkish team ended prematurely because of a calf injury.
Moore said Iverson has regained his desire to play, resolved his personal problems, and will accept a bench role.
“Allen has a lot of respect for the league and for the game and those who came before him,’’ Moore said. “But to get back into the league and to leave the way that he deserves to leave, that is very near and dear to him. It means the world to him.’’
With Rajon Rondo locked in as the Celtics point guard and Ray Allen as the shooting guard, Iverson’s role would likely be as a scorer off the bench. In Detroit and Memphis, he created issues because he demanded to start.
“I think that is so overplayed,’’ Moore said. “He said it on more than one occasion. And I’ve always known that. I think it was taken out of context. Allen would accept any role. Anything he can do to help a ball team is what he will be able to do.’’Continued...
Iverson thought he was headed to Boston in a draft-night trade in 2006 for Wally Szczerbiak and the seventh overall pick, a selection the Celtics eventually traded to the Trail Blazers.
“He was really looking forward to the opportunity,’’ Moore said. “And to come back there, why not come back? Why not the Celtics?’’
The Celtics also considered Iverson before he signed with the Grizzlies.
Acquiring Iverson would likely need the approval of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Allen, all of whom know him from All-Star Games and from years of going up against his teams.
Moore said Iverson is working with a personal trainer in Atlanta, trying to return to top shape. He underwent calf surgery a year ago but has not sustained any major injuries in his career - a career in which he has logged more than 37,000 minutes.
In his prime, the 6-foot Iverson was one of the league’s most dynamic players, averaging 30 or more points in four seasons. But he began to lose his luster after being traded to Denver in December 2006. Pistons general manager Joe Dumars thought Iverson could be the missing element in Detroit, so he traded the popular Chauncey Billups to Denver in November 2008.
Iverson demanded to coach Michael Curry that he start, pushing Richard Hamilton to the bench, a move that destroyed team chemistry. The Pistons allowed Iverson to leave via free agency and his reputation was so poor that only the Grizzlies would offer him a contract. Looking for a fan attraction, they signed him to a one-year contract that lasted three games.
“If most people would just look at Allen and judge him from knowing him and not what they are told, then they would have a much better understanding of him,’’ Moore said. “He doesn’t want anyone to assume anything. He just wants to play. That’s all.’’
http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball ... on/?page=2
Don't do it, A.I. Don't make me hate you now that you're in a C's uniform.