Allen, I’m going to be frank here: you’re out of answers.
Due to no fault of your own, your reputation in this league has been tarnished, downsized, and spat on. The media has played no small part in your fall from grace and are one of the main catalysts for this growing fetish around the league involving you and coming off the bench.
You deserve better.
I know it, you know it, and honestly, so do most of the GMs and coaches around the league. But instead of giving you the chance to bring the team production and possibly even wins, coaches are more interested in wearing your pride as their badge of honor.
They want you to come off the bench behind a Mike Conley or Rodney Stuckey? That’s a joke. Trying to develop younger players is one thing, but these guys haven’t shown the potential to be half of what you are.
You put your best player at each position on the floor at the start of the game, that’s a no-brainer (the sole exception being a Lamar Odom-like situation in Los Angeles).
What I’m about to suggest here won’t shock you, Allen, not after I tell you where I was born. Philadelphia is my hometown and watching the finesse and heart you displayed nightly was one of the main joys of my childhood.
You were one of the biggest reasons I even got into basketball.
Look at the 76ers now, Allen. They’re without a leader. Sure Elton Brand shows flashes of who he used to be. Sure Lou Williams can put up 25 in any given game, but both of those guys can disappear for over a week just as easily.
Andre Iguodala is the most consistent force Philly has to offer now, but he’s no leader yet. He’s a Robin desperately in need of a Batman. Look I’m done beating around the bush here, Allen. My suggestion is as simple as this: come home.
I won’t lie to you, my suggestion doesn’t offer you a chance at holding the Larry O’Brien this June. It doesn’t offer you 25 shots a game either.
What it does offer you is a fanbase that loves you more than any other and even more importantly to you, Allen, it offers you a starting job. On a 5-10 team that hasn’t been out of the first round of the playoffs since the 2001 Finals (which you led them to), nobody’s starting job is untouchable.
As you already know, Sixers management won’t approach you, Allen. If they do that, they’d be conceding that they really weren’t better off without you at all. That won’t happen. You’ll have to go to them and you’d be well served in not making this a public affair.
Going behind closed doors will ensure that you have the opportunity to establish that you will start and if you won’t, you can just walk away and the world will be none the wiser.
I’m a big fan of yours, Allen, and I hate where your career is heading. You haven’t always made the right moves but as I said earlier, you deserve better and I don’t know that you’ll get it anywhere else. So please, make the right move now, Allen.