After plenty of hemming and hawing, nearly all of the available NBA free agents have found homes this summer.
Tracy McGrady earned himself another chance to resuscitate his career—this time with the Detroit Pistons. Shaquille O'Neal decided to take a veteran's minimum contract and transformed himself into the Big Shamrock. Heck, even Shavlik Randolph landed a job.
There's been one notable exception so far: Allen Iverson.
Iverson, for whatever reason, remains available on the free agent market with less than a month until training camps convene. While he wasn't his former 25 PPG self in his gig with the Sixers last year, Iverson still showed that he's more than able to put some points on the board in a hurry.
While teams like the Hornets and Magic are ruling Iverson out, there's one team that should seriously be considering adding him: The Charlotte Bobcats.
Check out five reasons why the Bobcats should be seriously considering the addition of Iverson.
D.J. Augustin just isn't gonna cut it for a championship hopeful.
If there's one thing we learned about Charlotte in the playoffs, it's that they'll need to add more offensive playmakers and scorers if they're serious about winning a championship in the next few years.
Charlotte ranked dead last in team points per game in the playoffs, averaging a paltry 85.5 PPG in their four-game sweep at the hands of the Orlando Magic. Sure, Dwight Howard and the Magic defense had something to do with Charlotte's inability to score—after all, they did average nearly 10 PPG more in the regular season—but the Bobcats still ranked 28th in the league in points per game in the regular season.
In other words, Stephen Jackson and D.J. Augustin just aren't cutting it on their lonesome. Why not throw Iverson into that backcourt mix?
If you're the Bobcats, you've just seen your starting point guard, Raymond Felton, walk away in free agency this summer for absolutely nothing. You've seemingly got little to no faith in Augustin's ability to lead your team. Couldn't you do worse than a future Hall of Famer?
A starting backcourt of Iverson and Jackson would force defenses to play the Bobcats honestly, which should open up more opportunities for Gerald Wallace and Tyrus Thomas on the inside.
Gerald Wallace emerged as a legitimate D-POY candidate last season.
If there's one reason to fear adding Iverson to your team, beyond the potential off-court/chemistry issues he could bring, it's his defensive ability... or lack thereof.
Once upon a time, Iverson had some of the quickest hands and feet in the league, which he converted into a plethora of steals in his heyday. Now that he's 35 years old, the steals and his foot speed have gone down, and the number of times he's been burned by bench guards has gone way, way up.
If you're going to try and mask Iverson's defensive deficiencies, wouldn't you say that adding him to the team that allowed the fewest points per game this past season couldn't hurt? (That's the Bobcats, with only 93.8 PPG allowed, in case you were wondering.)
Iverson's days of averaging five or more rebounds per game are long gone. Gerald Wallace broke out last season and started averaging 10 rebounds per game. Again, see the fit here?
As long as Iverson's offensive contributions outweighed his defensive breakdowns, he'd be a valuable addition to the Bobcats. On a team that values defense as much as the Bobcats, the effects of Iverson's lapses on D would have a legitimate chance of being minimized.
Let's just say these two have a little bit of history together.
Any other team in the NBA may be concerned about bringing Iverson on because of a potentially toxic relationship with his new coach (see: Pistons, Detroit, 2008). Needless to say, the Bobcats won't have that problem.
For all the coaches who've had to corral Iverson's combustible personality, Larry Brown was the most successful. Brown coached the Sixers from 1997-2003, leading Iverson to an MVP award and an appearance in the 2001 NBA Finals against the Kobe and Shaq Showtime Lakers.
Sure, Iverson and Brown's relationship had its ups-and-downs, but one look at Iverson's tenure with coaches since—he's had eight different coaches since Brown's 2003 departure from Philadelphia—says it all. Brown managed six years with Iverson; then Iverson manages to go through eight coaches in the next seven years.
Brown's name actually circulated in rumors about the Philadelphia job earlier this year, once the Sixers fired Eddie Jordan; however, the hiring of Doug Collins killed those rumors. But if there's anyone who can ease Iverson's transition from superstar to role player, it's the guy who coached him to become the best player in the league in 2001.
If his past is any indication, Iverson will need a coach's guidance as he enters the twilight of his career. There's no coach in the league better suited for that role than Brown.
A friend of mine brought this aspect up when I threw this Iverson-Bobcats idea by him: You know Michael Jordan will lace up his shoes one day in practice and take A.I. on, one-on-one.
Iverson, the No. 1 pick in 1996, entered the league towards the end of Jordan's dynasty. Before Jordan faded away, Iverson made sure to fake Jordan out on this legendary crossover to the left.
If Jordan's Hall of Fame speech last year is any indication, he's still fuming about that crossover nearly 15 years after the fact. And while he's attempting to maintain a serious image as the majority owner of the Bobcats, Mark Cuban provided the blueprint for eccentric ownership—what's preventing one of the best players of all time going up against his team once or twice a year?
How better to motivate Iverson than to have Jordan show him personally that age shouldn't stop the greatest players in the game from doing their thing on the court?
The pair of Coach Brown and Jordan, the owner, would provide Iverson with two guys in his front office for whom he's got nothing but respect. The structure the Bobcats could offer Iverson simply trumps any other team in the NBA.
Stephen Jackson is the only legitimate playmaker the Bobcats have in the backcourt. The addition of Iverson would change that.
Last year, the Bobcats made the playoffs (as the East's No. 6 seed) for the first time in their young franchise history. Their successes translated into ticket sales—after renewing 71 percent of their season ticket holders and selling fewer than 400 new season tickets before the 2009-10 season, the Bobcats have seen 91 percent renew this summer, and they've sold nearly 1,600 new season tickets so far.
The Sixers front office can vouch: If there's one thing Iverson can provide without fail, it's a boost in ticket sales.
Iverson, like Tracy McGrady, will come as a low-risk, high-reward option for the Bobcats. The Cats won't expect 20 PPG out of Iverson if they sign him to a veteran's minimum contract, but they wouldn't complain if he scored those 20 points efficiently.
Furthermore, a starting backcourt of Iverson and Stephen Jackson could actually give Charlotte one of the more explosive, exciting backcourts in the league. And most importantly, that backcourt could be enough incentive to draw out fans to games.
More fans equals louder crowds; louder crowds equals more excitement; more excitement equals a larger home court advantage.
Considering an Iverson contract would cost all of $1 million, what do the Bobcats have to lose?