Allen Iverson has finally found a place to play. After an offseason of waiting for a team like the Heat, Bobcats or Knicks would make an offer to him, Iverson announced the signing via twitter. Iverson gets to go to a team with absolutely no playoff aspirations while also being in the twilight of his career.
Obviously Iverson raised a huge red flag after the fallout in Detroit and his comments saying he’d rather retire than come off the bench, the Grizzlies have said that Iverson has backed off a little off the statement, another reason that Iverson is getting $3.5 million, much lower than his $21 million from a year ago.
While Iverson isn’t the player he was in his prime, he can certainly help a team due to his ability to score. However the Grizzlies don’t need him to do that, the Grizzlies already have OJ Mayo, Zach Randolph, and Rudy Gay who can all score.
Reality is, this was strictly a financial move; this is a team that struggles desperately to sell tickets. The arena is nearly empty night after night.
This is a team that needs fans in the arena. Nobody in Tennessee is talking about the Grizzlies, it’s all Lane Kiffin and the University of Tennessee, and an upcoming season of Titans football, and this creates some interest in fans, especially younger fans that grew up watching Iverson in his prime.
However basketball-wise, this makes zero sense to me. You’re basically putting Iverson, who is a known as a high volume shooter, with Rudy Gay, a young forward who is trying to become elite. Then add OJ Mayo who likes to gun it up—and your young point guard Mike Conley who you’ve invested so much money will get less time to develop. On top of all that you also have one of the most selfish players in the NBA in Zach Randolph.
A pairing of Iverson and Randolph should be very interesting if not coach killing. Randolph loves to gun it up, loves to think about himself, and loves to pad his stats.
Are there really enough basketballs to go around? Can Iverson coexist with three other scorers?
All these questions when by midseason the team will probably stink again and the attendance may be the same.
Iverson is coming off an extremely disappointing season and has much to prove. This will wither be a transition year where AI will finally realize what the second half of a career is like, or whether he can still be a top player even at the age of 34.
While he’s not going to a market like New York or Miami, or one of his other desired situations like Charlotte, at least Iverson avoids the infamous Latrell Sprewell situation, and gets a chance, after the Detroit fallout.