Allen Iverson Could Replace Jamal Crawford in Atlanta

Dwayne MontellCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2010

Over the weekend it was reported that Jamal Crawford asked the Hawks to either give him an extension or trade him. Crawford had one of his best seasons in the NBA last season, averaging 18.0 ppg, making the playoffs for the first time in his career, and winning the 6th man of the year award. Crawford was instant offense off the bench and played 31 mpg; he was arguably the most valuable player for the Hawks last season. It seemed like Crawford had finally found a home; he fit in perfectly with this team and the city loved him, but at this point in his career Crawford wants to get paid and the Hawks can't do that for him so he has asked for a trade. 

The Hawks are going to take a big hit if Crawford leaves the team, but right now they can trade Crawford away without taking too much of a hit. The Hawks should seriously look at signing Iverson if Crawford is traded. Last season, Crawford played 31.1 mpg coming off the bench and destroyed second units with his scoring ability. Iverson could play that exact role but he could possibly do it better, as he is one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. 

Iverson surprisingly has been quiet all off season. He hasn't really made a push to get signed, with no word coming from his agent, no word coming from his managers and no word coming from him. But he did make one statement on his twitter account early in the offseason saying he wanted to return and would accept any role on a team that wanted him.

Iverson, who lives in Atlanta in the offseason, is loved by the city. Iverson could be that guy that packs the arena every night. Iverson is also working out harder then ever in Atlanta. His family is there, and with everything that has gone wrong with his family, he needs to stay close to them at this stage of his career. It could be a good thing for AI  because he would be grounded and would be focusing on the two things in his life that he needs to be focusing on, which is basketball and his family. Atlanta is the perfect city for Iverson, kind of like Philadelphia was for the 11 years he was there.

If the Hawks signed Iverson, they would get a guy who can score 20 ppg off the bench in 32 mpg, a guy who can take games over better then most players in the league, a guy who sells tickets and jerseys better then every player in the league (except Kobe), a veteran, a bona fide first ballot Hall Of Famer, one of the greatest players in NBA history, and most importantly a guy who could help the Hawks get over that hump in the playoffs.

If Iverson was told that all he had to do was focus on scoring, then he would embrace that role and destroy second units in the NBA, the Hawks gave Joe Johnson 31 mpg so they would have the minutes for AI as well. The Hawks don't have to worry about him being a cancer in the locker room, the media is falsely labeling him a chemistry killer and selfish diva. It is clear the media hates AI, in Philadelphia last season he did everything they wanted him to but they destroyed him anyway.

In Philadelphia last season, he passed more then he shot (career low 10 shots per game), he was a cheerleader when he wasn't playing, he was never late to a meeting or practice, he was forced to play in a Princeton offense and played only 29 mpg, but didn't complain once! The Sixers front office and players all had good things to say about Iverson. If he can behave on a 27 win Sixers team, then I am pretty sure he won't cause any problems on a fourth or fifth seed 50 win Hawks team. 

Right now, the Hawks front office just needs to focus on Iverson the basketball player and understand that the media is falsely labeling him. He is working harder then ever and he has healed his banged up body. All these talks of Iverson having to much baggage are false and they can look at the time he was in Philly where he was never a problem. 

Jamal Crawford has asked to be traded, he was a great fit for the Hawks and it may disappoint some fans that he is leaving, but Rick Sund should give Crawford what he wants and tell him that they have an "Answer" for him.