With the draft and free agency coming up, teams are looking for ways to upgrade themselves in order to improve for next season.
The summer of 2010 is a year away, but the summer of 2009 has its fair share of notable free agents, a crop of free agents that could potentially include Allen Iverson, Carlos Boozer, Ron Artest, and Kobe Bryant.
Most of these guys have an idea of what they will make; players like Kobe Bryant and Carlos Boozer are in for big paydays. Players like Jason Kidd probably will not get the big payday.
One player, however, remains a mystery: former Sixers great Allen Iverson.
Last year, Iverson was among the highest paid players in the NBA. In a brief and forgettable stint with the Detroit Pistons, he set a career low in points per game averaging a mediocre 17.5 points per game—his previous low was 22.
Iverson even said he would rather retire than come off the bench, raising a red flag for many GMs who were considering him, and effectively eliminating that possibility for Pistons GM Joe Dumars.
So what is the answer for The Answer?
Teams with young talent like the Memphis Grizzlies don’t want to bring him in, due to the fact that he will stunt the development of young franchise players like Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo.
Meanwhile, teams with talent that are ready to win now don’t want to bring him in since he would mess up the chemistry—the San Antonio Spurs, for example, seem like a nice fit.
But would Iverson want to play with all stars like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker? Would they want to play with him? And would Iverson want to play under Greg Popovich's team-oriented brand of basketball?
At almost 34 years old, Iverson is not the same player he was five years ago.
So where does he go?
How about a team like Sacramento—a team without a lot of talent and the worst team in the NBA? The Kings are a team desperate for attendance—the Maloof brothers have noticed a drop in attendance and are even considering moving the team.
Iverson could put some people in the seats, but he may not be a huge draw—at least not big enough. It would also be embarrassing to see the great Allen Iverson playing in a Kings uniform.
But even going to the Kings is not a perfect situation.
Sacramento has a special player in Kevin Martin, who became an elite scorer this year with 24.6 point per game—a player like Iverson may stop his development.
How about a team like Charlotte, who is coached by Larry Brown?
Even that would have its own problems, since there is a young point guard in Charlotte named DJ Augustine who looks like the team’s franchise player. Iverson would take a lot of playing time away from Augustine, and stunt his development, as well.
It seems like there is no perfect situation for The Answer, unless he would want to change his attitude and sacrifice his personal stats in order to win a championship—much like Kevin Garnett and Gary Payton did.
Iverson can still be an elite scorer, but he still has something missing—a ring. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
He will have to make some tough decisions about his ego, and whether he still has the desire to win it all. We all know he can still score, but can he win a championship?
It would certainly be sad to see Iverson sign with a team like the Kings just to make a run at a scoring title. Iverson will not be in for a big payday due to his previous season’s performance, but he has a chance to have a bounce back year and sign with a contender in order to win a championship.