As you all know, the Allen Iverson era in Memphis came to an end this past week as the Grizzlies and Iverson came to a mutual agreement to part ways. Iverson spent just under two months in Memphis, but it was quite clear that this situation simply was not going to work, not only for Iverson himself, but for the Grizzlies franchise as well.
Although New York Knicks’ president Donnie Walsh has not officially said that he will sign Iverson, but according to the New York Daily News Walsh has hinted that the Knicks are strongly leaning towards signing the disgruntled star.
The Knicks have gotten off to a very poor start as they are currently sitting at a rudimentary 2-9 record. To make matters worse, the Utah Jazz are sitting with New York’s unprotected 1st round draft pick this season which means that there is no light at the end of tunnel for this franchise, at least in terms of a top notch prospect.
While adding Iverson to the roster will by no means make the Knicks a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference, it may be enough to help them pick up a few more victories and, more importantly, might be able to spark some excitement back into Madison Square Garden.
By signing with New York, Iverson will look to re-establish his reputation as one of the NBA’s premier scorers. The Knicks, under Coach Mike D’Antoni, love to play a fast paced, high octane offensive game and this style of play suits Iverson very well. Iverson, despite all of his off the court problems recently, is still a very dangerous scorer and would fit right in with D’Antoni’s system.
His defensive shortcomings won’t be a huge deal because of the lack of emphasis on that end of the floor (the Knicks are giving up the 2nd most points against at 109.5 points per game). He will be able to get away with gambling in the passing lanes and defensive breakdowns as long as he continues to put up points on the offensive end of the floor.
The Knicks already have some talented offensive players on their roster in Al Harrington, who leads the team in scoring, and Danilo Gallinari, the sharp shooting sophomore.
Iverson has never been known as a pass first player, but the attention that he demands, along with his ability to break down the defense, creates great opportunities for his teammates. A shooter like Gallinari could end up getting some great looks off of dribble penetration. Harrington could also thrive off of the attention that Iverson will draw.
There are a couple of potential snags in Iverson heading to New York though. According to the New York Daily News the Miami Heat are interested in adding Iverson to their roster.
It is also believed that James Dolan would have to sign off on the deal. Dolan has had a history of not wanting to acquire players that could be considered as controversial and he was behind Latrell Sprewell and Stephon Marbury leaving the Knicks. He may be put off by Iverson who does not have the greatest of track records by any stretch of the imagination.
Although Iverson may not be the same player that he was during his prime, he is still a dangerous scorer and can put up points in a hurry. The deal is by no means a sure thing, but if you ask me, this is a no risk move as the Knicks really can’t get much worse. Iverson may be able to rejuvenate his sputtering career by joining the Knicks and finishing the year strong and in the process help the Knicks pick up a few more wins.
Will New York take a chance and sign Iverson? Only time will tell.