Allen Iverson: Should the Los Angeles Lakers Consider Signing Him?

Charles BennettSenior Analyst IAugust 28, 2011

Purple and gold might be a good fit for A.I.
Purple and gold might be a good fit for A.I.

There seem to be rumblings that, if there is an NBA season this season, former MVP and scoring champ Allen Iverson might make a return to the NBA.

Usually, this rumbling involves a return to the Philadelphia 76ers, but I think the Los Angeles Lakers should consider it.

For starters, if it's a championship Iverson is looking for, Philadelphia might not be the place for him.  Philadelphia already has Jrue Holiday and swingman Andre Iguodala, and despite their improvement from 2009-10 to 2010-11, I don't see a trip to the NBA Finals as being in the cards for them any time soon.  A.I. also seems to me to not be a small-market guy, so that would rule out small market contenders like Oklahoma City.

The Lakers' backcourt, particularly their backcourt bench, is quite weak ever since Shannon Brown started being MIA.  Despite Iverson's height, he is a combo guard, allowing him to come off the bench for Derek Fisher (who is wise to the ways of the NBA, but too old to be effective) or Kobe Bryant (whose minutes I forecast being limited even further this season).  Having Iverson at the two could also allow Kobe to play some minutes at the three, which consensus says is weak under Artest.

Bringing Iverson off the bench would allow the Lakers a counter to bench guards such as J.J. Berea of Dallas and Daequan Cook of Oklahoma City.  When Iverson is playing 100 percent, he brings speed and tenacity—something that has clearly been lacking in the Lakers' second unit.  He is also good for a three every game or so, in addition to being a solid steal threat.

Iverson would also fit in with the style of play that new Lakers coach Mike Brown will likely implement…one that doesn’t revolve around powerful passing at the point, and instead revolves around getting the best out of players with really big heads.

Salary cap space is, of course, an issue. The cash-strapped Iverson would probably come at a fairly low price, considering that he pulled $2 million per season with Beşiktaş (a team that he never played for due to his injury as well as the team's financial insolvency) and made less than that in Memphis and Philadelphia in his final NBA season.  The Lakers probably could have him for $1-2 million.

Could the Lakers get somebody younger for an equal price?  Maybe.  If they can't, they should look into getting A.I.