The NBA offseason is often a time of opportunity, as many young players are drafted and many more that aren’t that fortunate attempt to realize their dream of playing professional basketball by impressing during training camp or workouts.
There’s also opportunity for aging veterans that have been on the league’s fringes and players that have been overseas for years to attempt a comeback, with almost every team willing to give these players a shot to prove themselves.
Unfortunately, while the 2013 NBA offseason has afforded plenty of opportunity to a number of talent both young and old, it also marks the retirement and end of one of the greatest and most polarizing careers the game has ever seen.
Let’s take a look at Allen Iverson’s reportedly impending retirement announcement, the latest on free agency and more in Friday’s rumor roundup.
A.I. Set to Retire
After 13 prolific years in the NBA and a short stint in Turkey, Allen Iverson is finally hanging up his sneakers.
According to Tzvi Twersky of SLAM, Iverson will officially announce the retirement in the coming days.
Although A.I. hasn’t appeared in an NBA contest since 2010, he’s made an indelible impression on the league.
After being selected No. 1 overall in the 1996 draft, Iverson immediately burst onto the scene with the Philadelphia 76ers. He averaged 23.5 points, 7.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game in his rookie year and only improved on those impressive numbers during his prime.
Iverson finished his career with averages of 26.7 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game.
He played 10 seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers before jumping to the Denver Nuggets. He then bounced around while his skills diminished and spent time with the Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies before heading back to Philly to finish his career.
The 38-year-old could still play in the NBA if he truly desired, but he’s retiring to focus on family and being a father. It’s likely the right choice, as that is more important than anything else.
Iverson will always be remembered as one of the most gifted scorers and scrappiest players the game has ever seen.
James Johnson Working Out
Despite being drafted No. 16 overall back in the 2009 draft, James Johnson is still hoping for a chance to break out.
According to Shams Charania of RealGM, the Wake Forest product has been working out with a number of teams in the Association, including the San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz.
The 26-year-old has already made stops with three franchises, a list that includes the Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings. He holds averages of 6.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.0 assist in just 219 games over four seasons.
At 6’9”, 248 pounds and in possession of boundless athleticism, there is no doubt Johnson could contribute in the NBA. He just needs to play more consistently and show the same stuff in a game environment that he does in the practice gym.
Due to his youth and upside, it’s hard to see Johnson not getting another shot from an intrigued organization.
Dexter Pittman Hoping to Stay in NBA
It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago, Dexter Pittman was a high-potential reserve on the world champion Miami Heat.
After being dumped on the Memphis Grizzlies in a midseason trade and missing his chance to earn another ring with the back-to-back NBA Finals winners, the Texas Longhorns product is now fighting for his chance to stay in the NBA.
According to Charania, Pittman has accepted an invitation from the Chicago Bulls to compete for a roster spot in training camp.
The 6’11”, 285-pound center was drafted No. 32 overall back in 2010, but hasn’t shown much in terms of development during his three seasons. His career averages of 2.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.2 blocks leave much to be desired.
If he’s able to catch on in the Windy City, he’ll need to quickly show that he has grown and improved enough to warrant the roster spot.
While size like Pittman’s is hard to come by, this is likely his last chance to prove he belongs in the league.