Iverson Primer

AI 

For those that haven’t been following closely, here is your Allen Iverson primer:

- Allen Iverson has admitted that he has asked for a trade.
- The Sixers have made the statement “We’ll trade him.”
- Iverson has been told to stay home by the team (reminiscent of Ron Artest last year).
- The Vescey report has the Sixers looking to deal anyone on the roster (probably trying to dump the salaries of Webber and Dalembert).
- Today’s Herald reports that the Celtics did call the Sixers shortly after learning of AI’s availability and are willing to offer a number of packages.

It sounds like the Sixers are finally ready to blow up the team and make a strong push for the Oden sweepstakes.  Of course the Celtics reportedly had a deal in place to aquire Iverson in the offseason, so they are front and center in the speculation of what will happen with Iverson.  It isn’t clear exactly who was on the table, but speculation was that players like Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Wally Szczerbiack, and others might have been involved.  In addition, there was a discussed three way deal involving Carlos Boozer going to Philly.

Since the offseason, some things have changed.  Clearly Boozer is off the market.  Gerald Green has shown real progress (including a breakout-type game against the Grizzlies).  Al Jefferson has looked alright, but for one reason or another hasn’t taken a huge step forward (as of yet).

From the perspective of the Sixers, any time a star player asks for a trade, his value is lower because buying teams know that the selling team is under pressure to make a deal.  With that said, there will be a bidding war to bring that price up closer to Iverson’s true value.  I wouldn’t be too surprised to see the Sixers sit back and let this play out as long as it takes to get decent value, much like the Pacers did last year with Ron Artest.  In terms of dealing with the Celtics, the Sixers might not want to deal Iverson within their own division.

Other teams that are the early favorites to land Iverson include the Denver Nuggetts, Atlanta Hawks, and Minnesotta Timberwolves.  Also expect the Clippers, Warriors, Pacers, and other teams to at least make a phone call.

As for the Celtics, they have to make the decision on how much they are willing to give up for Iverson.  Iverson paired with Pierce probably gives this team enough wins to win the Atlantic Division and get into the playoffs, but any deal involving draft picks better include lottery protection just in case.

Iverson is still performing like he’s in the prime of his life, but his age suggests that can only last so long.  So pairing Pierce with Iverson would be rolling the dice that they can compete in the near future.  In addition, the cost of acquiring AI would have to include young players and/or picks.  So one would hope that the team has had enough time to decide which young players they must hang onto and which ones they can move on without.

Gerald Green looks more and more like a keeper every day.  Tony Allen (last night’s game notwithstanding) has looked immensely expendable.  Somewhere in the middle are Delonte West, Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, and Sebastian Telfair.  Nobody needs to remind Celtic fans about the mistakes they’ve made in the past with Joe Johnson or even Chauncey Billups.  On the other hand, hanging on to all the young players could be a mistake as well.

It would seem that the Nuggetts would be motivated to bring Iverson out West to pair him with Carmelo Anthony.  The TWolves would love to bring in Iverson and have Randy Foye to offer (and don’t forget that Foye was reportedly the one the Sixers wanted from the Celtics’ draft pick back in June).  Atlanta has a host of forwards they can offer up. 

My best guess is that Iverson ends up somewhere else, but we could learn a lot about how this team views it’s players based on what kind of bid the Celtics make.  This one should be interesting to watch.

Also see: Globe Story | Herald Story | ESPN - Stein | KG makes pitch

Update: C’s and Mavs early favorites?

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