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Tag:Allen Iverson
Posted on: July 7, 2011 2:22 pm
 

NBA stars to Europe? Not so fast

When word began to spread Thursday that Nets star Deron Williams has an agreement to play next season in Turkey, one prominent NBA agent called foul.

"I don't think he's going overseas," said the agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the lockout. "I'll believe that deal when I see it."

The Turkish television station NTV Spor reported Thursday that Williams has agreed to join the Turkish team Besiktas, the same team former All-Star Allen Iverson played briefly for last season. The report was confirmed by other media outlets, including The New York Times, which quoted Besiktas coach Ergin Ataman as saying "we confirm" the agreement. According to Ataman, Williams is expected to report to Besiktas on Sept. 1 to prepare for the season, which begins Sept. 27.

If true, Williams would be the highest-profile NBA star in his prime to sign a contract to play overseas. And with NBA players locked out for what many believe will be a long labor fight -- perhaps wiping out the entire 2011-12 season -- Williams going to Turkey could open the floodgates for NBA stars turning their backs on the NBA owners who have nullified their contracts with a lockout.

Or not.

"The guys I work with in Turkey say there's no chance this is happening," the agent said.

Williams, due to become a free agent in 2012, would stand to make $70 million to $80 million on his next NBA contract -- depending on what the new collective bargaining rules will allow.

"He's going to risk that to make a few million dollars?" the agent said. "What if he gets hurt?"

The most Besiktas is believed to be capable of paying Williams is $7 million to $8 million, sources said. No financial terms of his apparent deal with the Turkish team have been divulged, and Williams' new agent, Jeff Schwartz, did not respond to a request for comment.

Various agents currently are discussing deals with European teams, but they're mostly for undrafted free agents or journeymen looking to stay sharp and make money during the lockout -- not superstars in their prime. In exchange for a few million Bucks and a free flight to Istanbul, Williams would not only be risking his next NBA contract, but the rest of his current one -- for which he is owed $34 million over the next two seasons, with a player option for 2012-13.

No offense to Besiktas, but European teams have a history of not living up to contractual obligations, leaving players who signed there fighting to get money that was owed to them. Of course, a publicity stunt to drum up fan interest and sign a few sponsors is free of charge.

In speaking with the Times, Ataman made a point of saying he plans to contact "other guys," such as, you know, Kobe Bryant.

The sound coming from my agent friend on the other end of the phone conversation at that point? Laughter.

 
Posted on: February 1, 2011 3:19 pm
 

Iverson out 6-8 weeks after leg procedure

Allen Iverson tweeted Monday that he hopes to return to his Turkish team in time for the playoffs at the end of March. But according to a statement from renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews, that could be an optimistic assessment.

Andrews said Tuesday that Iverson requires "prolonged rest" totaling at least 6-8 weeks, along with an injection to treat a calcium deposit in his calf. The mass is in a "very precarious spot" because it is pressuring the main nerve and artery that go down the leg, Andrews said.

"He actually tried to tough it out and continue to play while over in Turkey," Andrews said in a statement released by Iverson's manager, Gary Moore. "However, he got to the point where he could not really run up and down the court because of increased pain. Unfortunately, he did not do himself any good trying to play through his pain."

Iverson, 35, will be evaluated on a bi-weekly basis and will not be able to return to the court for Besiktas for "six to eight weeks or more," Andrews said. After that, Andrews said he expects a "full recovery." Iverson will spend the next few weeks rehabbing in Atlanta.

Iverson signed a two-year, $4 million deal with Besiktas in November after a 14-year NBA career that included 11 All-Star appearances, two All-Star MVPs and a league MVP award. Moore said once Iverson recovers, he expects to return to Turkey for the playoffs and then will begin exploring options for next season -- options he hopes will include the possibility of a return to the NBA in some capacity.
Posted on: March 2, 2010 10:16 am
Edited on: March 2, 2010 10:47 am
 

Predictable end to Iverson's Philly return

As much as I enjoyed Act I of Allen Iverson's career in Philadelphia, Act II never seemed like a good idea. Now, under much different circumstances than the ones that marked A.I.'s first tour in Philly, he's done in the city he owned for so long.

Done for good? That remains to be seen.

The Sixers confirmed Tuesday what has seemed obvious since the All-Star break -- that Iverson's return to Philadelphia is over. Unable to be around the team consistently while he tends to his ill daughter, Iverson and the Sixers are parting ways under amicable terms.

Team president Ed Stefanski had set a deadline of this week for Iverson to determine whether he'd be able to return to the team for good. Things never progressed to that point after the team granted Iverson an indefinite leave of absence after the All-Star break.

Two book-keeping matters related to A.I.'s season being over: He isn't being released, so there's no significance to this event happening after the March 1 deadline by which players must be released in order to be playoff-eligible for another team. (Since Iverson isn't able to play for the Sixers due to what's going on in his life, he wouldn't be able to play for anyone else, either). Also, Iverson gets paid for the whole season, because his one-year contract for the prorated veteran's minimum of $1.3 million became guaranteed on Jan. 10.

As is usually the case with Iverson, his situation is more complex than he or the team has admitted. While it would be in poor taste to criticize Iverson given the undisclosed health issues his daughter is experiencing, Iverson needlessly put himself in the crosshairs of criticism by co-promoting a club party with Jermaine Dupri on Feb. 27 in Charlotte. The promotional poster is here, complete with many dubious tweets confirming Iverson's appearance at the party. 

What does all of this mean for Iverson's future? It's foolish to even guess. But given that Iverson already has "retired" once this season, and given that his last three employment arrangements have ended badly, it's hard to imagine another team taking a chance on him next season, when he'll be 35.

Hard to imagine, but not impossible. Iverson was able to charm the Grizzlies and Sixers, so it's wise not to underestimate his ability to unleash his powers of persuasion on another NBA owner this summer.

If, on the other hand, there's no market for a 35-year-old scoring guard with arthritis and a series of bad breakups in his wake, that'll be too bad. If this is the end for Iverson, it's a sad, unfulfilling way for him to go out.

There was never a player even remotely like him, and it's safe to say there never will be.

One more thing, on a nostalgic note. Iverson, one of the most important sports figures in Philadelphia history, goes out on a very significant day. One year ago, I promised to acknowledge the anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game every year in this blog on March 2. And here we are on March 2 -- pausing to remember Wilt's historic night in Hershey, Pa., in 1962 and saying good-bye another member of Philly's basketball Mount Rushmore.

In some ways, Iverson was a giant. In other ways, he fell short of what he could have been. But one thing you can't take away from him: He made sure everybody knew he was here.

 




Posted on: February 25, 2010 5:22 pm
 

Thabeet to D-League

The Grizzlies are sending No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet to the D-League, a move that proves A) Memphis made a mistake in picking him that high; and B) The organization, to its credit, has the courage to admit that mistake.

That doesn't mean we write off Thabeet's career just because he's off to a slow start. But it was curious from the start why the Grizzlies, desperate for a spark in a struggling market, passed on hometown hero Tyreke Evans and selected Thabeet second overall in the 2009 draft. Memphis, instead, turned to Allen Iverson for that spark, and instead got a three-alarm fire that resulted in his quick dismissal from the team.

It was obvious that Thabeet, a 7-3 center from Tanzania, would be a project. But his difficult adjustment to the NBA game has redefined what a project is. In limited minutes, Thabeet has managed only two field goals in the month of February and only 15 in the calendar year -- a third of which came in the first game of 2010 on Jan. 2.

Thabeet becomes the highest draft pick ever assigned to the D-League. His assignment to the Dakota Wizards was reported first by the website RidiculousUpside.com.
Posted on: February 23, 2010 12:05 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2010 5:34 pm
 

Source: Iverson deadline next week

If Allen Iverson can't make it back to the Philadelphia 76ers by next week, a parting of ways between the iconic star and the city where he tried to resurrect his career will be inevitable, a person with close ties to the future Hall of Famer told CBSSports.com Tuesday.

"For the team's sake and his own sake, he can't keep trying to go back and forth with this," the person said. "If he can't get back by next week, it's probably not going to work."

Contrary to Iverson's often stormy history with the organization, sources described his indefinite leave of absence as "amicable" and "nothing sinister." Iverson has been in and out of the lineup in recent weeks while he tends to his ill daughter.

The Sixers tried to make it work with Iverson, getting an initial spark in attendance and excitement from his return. But Philly plays Orlando on Monday and Atlanta on Wednesday, and if Iverson can't commit to returning to the team by then, the wheels will be in motion for his release.

News of Iverson's predicament, which could well signal the end of his career, made me think back to comments from one of his friends and former teammates during All-Star weekend. Carmelo Anthony, perhaps the only star player who's ever been able to co-exist productively with Iverson, was asked what A.I.'s legacy will be -- if, in fact, this is the end for one of the greatest athletes ever to appear on an NBA court.

"His legacy is self explanatory," Anthony said. "He came into the NBA and almost changed the whole game of basketball in his own way."

The key words being "in his own way." To the end, Iverson never compromised. He lost the cornrows only briefly, sporting a haircut during All-Star weekend in Phoenix in 2009. He gave up on winning a championship when he accepted money from the Memphis Grizzlies, and then from the Philadelphia 76ers -- choosing his "happiness" over more lofty goals that have eluded him since he turned the NBA on its head as the No. 1 pick in the 1996 draft.

Now, Iverson is dealing with something no parent ever wants to even think about -- a sick child who needs him. No one will ever dispute the importance of that. It simply isn't debatable. Neither is the Sixers' right to move forward without Iverson if he can't uphold his commitment to the team.

"He’s always going to go down as one of the greatest players to ever play," Anthony said. "Whether they say 6-feet-or-under or whatever. Regardless of height, he’s going to be one of the greatest. I was fortunate enough to play with him for two years. It seems like a long time ago, but it was only two years ago when I played with him and he averaged 26, 27 points. In the last year and a half was when everything went south for him."

I shared my thoughts about Iverson before he signed with the Sixers, when it appeared that his NBA career was over. Now it seems like that career obituary was only premature by a couple of months.

Anthony called Iverson's stubborn insistence on doing this his way "a positive and a negative. When he came into the league, I don’t think anybody was expecting that type of player, that type of person to come into the league. He made fans embrace him, and they stuck with him all the way until today."

Now, the NBA is more than ready to move past Iverson's "me" generation of stars. Could Iverson have compromised? Could he have changed his game, extended his career, given himself a chance to add a championship to his resume if only he could have accepted coming off the bench for a contender? Sure. But when it comes to A.I., it's pointless to even ask such questions.

What you saw was what you got. Like a comet, Iverson was something to watch until he flamed out in spectacular fashion -- which was the only way this was ever going to end.

One more thing about Iverson: Drama walks in lock step with him wherever he goes. When it comes to The Answer, another plot twist or two isn't out of the question.

Posted on: February 11, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2010 6:33 pm
 

Kobe, Iverson out for All-Star (UPDATE)

DALLAS -- Kobe Bryant's injured ankle will keep him out of Sunday's All-Star Game, with hometown point guard Jason Kidd replacing him for the West. Allen Iverson also will miss the game while he tends to his ill daughter, replaced by David Lee.

Bryant, who tied Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Kevin Garnett, and John Havlicek for the third-most All-Star selections with 13, missed the Lakers' last three games before the break with an assortment of injuries. A sprained left ankle is what KO'd him for Sunday.

Kidd's selection means that Golden State's Monta Ellis gets snubbed for the third time. Chauncey Billups and Chris Kaman were previously picked as injury replacements over the Warriors' guard, who is sixth in the league in scoring.

Iverson, an 11-time All-Star, has been out since Feb. 3 to deal with his daughter's undisclosed health issues. Lee, a first-time All-Star having the best season of his career, gives the Knicks their first All-Star selection since 2001. Lee was named MVP of the rookie challenge in 2007.

East coach Stan Van Gundy and West coach George Karl will decide who replaces Bryant and Iverson in the starting lineups.

The NBA's official All-Star roster denotes starters with an asterisk (*) and injury replacements with an ampersand (&). Allow me to suggest using the asterisk for Kidd, whose appointment to the West squad was as much about the weather as anything else. Dallas was beseiged by a persistent snowstorm Thursday, with 7-9 inches predicted before it's over. Kidd, reportedly in Phoenix, will thus have a shot at actually making it to Dallas by Sunday.

Posted on: January 21, 2010 11:39 am
Edited on: January 21, 2010 7:48 pm
 

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

Embarrassment averted.

The All-Star starters were revealed Thursday night on TNT before the nationally televised rematch of the Cavs' Christmas Day blowout of the Lakers.

Thankfully, Tracy McGrady wasn't one of them.

All hail Steve Nash, who passed T-Mac in the final weeks of voting and will start alongside Kobe Bryant in the Western Conference backcourt in the Feb. 14 All-Star Game in Dallas. McGrady, who has played all of six games this season, won't be faced with the inglorious decision of having to decline an invitation he didn't deserve.

In another fan-voting quirk that was less controversial than a T-Mac starting nod would've been, Allen Iverson will start alongside Dwyane Wade in the Eastern Conference backcourt. The other East starters: Dwight Howard, LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett (assuming he's healthy).

Joining Kobe and Nash on the West's starting five: Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tim Duncan, who passed Dirk Nowitzki in the final three weeks of voting.

"No Dirk as a starter?" Mavs owner Mark Cuban tweeted. "Time to change the rules for voting."

McGrady carried a 2,375-vote lead over Nash into the final three weeks of balloting, which was conducted by fans via paper, online, and wireless voting. If Nash hadn't passed McGrady, the right thing for T-Mac to do would've been politely decline.

It wouldn't have cost him a dime, either. A source with knowledge of the situation said McGrady has no All-Star bonus clauses in his contract, which pays him a league-high $23 million this season.

It's better for everyone this way. McGrady is trying to come back from microfracture surgery. More to the point, he would benefit immensely if the Rockets were somehow able to trade him before the Feb. 18 trade deadline. McGrady didn't need to risk his health or his already suffering reputation by trying to dust himself off for a few meaningless All-Star minutes.

I don't have a problem with Iverson starting; he's been a fan favorite his entire career, certainly deserves it based on his body of work, and -- this is important -- is actually suiting up for the Sixers, albeit at a remarkably reduced rate of effectiveness.

In spite of Nash's fortunate comeback, I agree with Boston's Ray Allen and would be in favor of tweaking the voting system to divide the say-so among fans, media members, and players. The players, more than anybody else, know who's deserving and who isn't. The coaches should retain their ability to select the reserves. 

On one hand, you don't want to take away the fans' investment in the game, which after all is at least partly -- or mostly -- for their entertainment. But the All-Star Game badly needs a dose of legitimacy. Gone are the days when Michael Jordan or Dominique Wilkins could dominate All-Star weekend with their exploits in the dunk contest. That exercise long ago became a farce, and once again none of the marquee stars will participate this year.

So instead of complaining, I offer a solution. Not the only solution, but a start. Instead of voting by position, the fans vote for any 10 players they want from each conference. The players do the same. Their votes are weighted equally, and the top eight in each conference make the team. All 30 coaches vote to determine the 10 starters. The East coach and West coach fill out the roster with four reserves each.

The media? I'm not sure whom to count as media anymore, so let's leave us out of it. We'll just write about what happens.

Perfect? No. Somebody will get snubbed; they always do. But it's better than people constantly texting the word McGrady until they almost succeed in making a mockery of what is supposed to be a serious honor.

If there are any better ideas out there, you know what to do.






Posted on: January 13, 2010 9:15 pm
 

Allen: NBA should limit fans' All-Star votes

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It’s time to call the fans’ All-Star voting what it is: A joke.

Ray Allen did Wednesday night, and I couldn’t agree more.

“I think the fan voting is watered down,” the Celtics star said before Boston played the Nets. “I like the fact that the fans get the opportunity to vote and pick who they’d like to see in the All-Star game. But I don’t think it should be 100 percent.”

Allen, currently fourth among Eastern Conference guards (Allen Iverson is second), said the he favors a system like the one used to selected players to the NFL’s Pro Bowl. In the NFL, votes are split in thirds among players, coaches and fans. Such an arrangement would avoid embarrassments like the one currently under way involving Tracy McGrady, who is second to Kobe Bryant among Western Conference guards even though he isn’t playing for the Rockets.

“The commissioner should put some type of rule in place like you have to play at least so many games to be eligible for the All-Star Game,” Allen said. “Because once you put all the ballots out, you can’t really retrieve them. If Tracy played, I’m sure he’d play well enough to be an All-Star player because he’s done that in his career. But again, that’s taking away from another player in the Western Conference who’s having a good year and has been playing and deserves to be in there.”

The commissioner, in case you haven’t heard, has other problems to deal with at the moment. But while the sanctity of All-Star appearances doesn’t rise to the level of firearms in the locker room, it’s something that will have to be addressed.

The NBA has been on the cutting edge of fan engagement with games available live online, unique content for its 1.7 million Twitter followers, and All-Star voting online and via text messaging. Not to come across as the ugly American, but it’s pretty clear that the expansion of voting globally has skewed the results – and not in a fair or good way.

On Wednesday, the league announced that fans would choose a participant in the All-Star slam dunk contest by voting electronically during a two-player dunk-off at halftime of the Rookie Challenge on Friday night of All-Star weekend.

That’s OK. It’s a dunk contest. But All-Star appearances and starts are still viewed as legitimate accomplishments in a player’s career, and are often cited when a player is inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. If McGrady is voted in as a starter, it’s time to re-evaluate the importance of All-Star appearances, the voting procedure, or both.

Allen said he’d give the fan voting 50 percent of the weight, the players 25 percent, and the media 25 percent in determining the All-Star starters. Coaches would retain the authority to pick the reserves under Allen’s plan

“The players will truthfully know who’s had a truly great first half of the season,” Allen said. “You would have five guys starting for the All-Star team regardless of hype or highlight. You just get guys that had the best first half of the season. … You guy should have a say-so. You’re obviously watching games night in and night out. The players are the ones scouting each other and they know exactly who is beating them every night and who they’re watching on film. So they see everything.”

More than the 746,625 fans who've voted for McGrady, anyway.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com