Allen Iverson: Next Stop China? Why Does Nobody Want AI?

Pete PazulliContributor ISeptember 13, 2010

It is not surprising NBA teams are not lining up to sign Allen Iverson.
It is not surprising NBA teams are not lining up to sign Allen Iverson.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

ESPN and CBS Sports are reporting four-time NBA scoring champion Allen Iverson is considering a deal to play in China next season.  While he and his entourage are apparently in shock that not one team has expressed interest in the 2001 MVP, the real question they should be asking is why would anyone want him?

Sure, Iverson was a force in his time.  He appeared in 11 All-Star Games, sold millions of shoes and jerseys, and had one sick crossover on Michael Jordan.  He battled through several painful injuries, including a bursitis in his elbow that started the compression sleeve fad now sweeping the league, to lead Philadelphia to NBA Finals in 2001.  This would be the pinnacle of his career, just five seasons in.

Yes he continued to score, in fact he would lead the league in scoring two more seasons, but he would not get past the second round of the playoffs again.   The 2001-2002 season produced the now infamous "Practice" press conference

Larry Brown would leave the 76ers the following season, and Iverson's attitude would hamper his performance and the performance of his team. He would clash with head coaches Chris Ford, Jim O'Brien, and Maurice Cheeks for the next four seasons before being traded to the Nuggets.  

Iverson scored 26.4 a game for the Nuggets the next season before being dealt to Detroit.  In Detroit he averaged just 17.5 points and was suspended at the end of the season for comments made when he was relegated to the bench.

Iverson would sign with Memphis in the offseason, but left the team after playing just three games when it became clear he was not going to start.  The 76ers would sign him for the remainder of the season and averaged just 13.6 points a game.

Decreases in his playing time and scoring averages have done little to humble the outspoken star.  In fact, his complaining has increased.  Iverson was signed as little more than a sideshow in Memphis, as they were the only team that would have him.  He was injured going into the season and obviously out of shape when he came back.  Yet he could not handle not starting, even if his conditioning was the cause.  

He was heard on team buses loudly badmouthing the coaching staff in front of other players, and after just three games, none of them home games, he left the team.  Before that he said he would rather retire than come off the bench in Detroit.

So now Iverson says he wants to contribute to a winning team.  He is finally ready to do whatever he can to help.  No one is listening, though. 

The Knicks, who desperately need anything to boost fan support, are not listening. 

The Nets, who missed out on every big 2010 free agent, are not offering. 

The Clippers, who generally like to screw up their young talent, are not biting.  Iverson might as well buy a plane ticket to Shanghai, because it seems no one believes him this time and he only has himself to blame.