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Is Iverson the Answer?

For all of you who were relieved when the Allen Iverson to Boston trade talks fizzled out this summer, we’ve got some bad news for you. It’s back on, and stronger than before.

After AI reportedly went to the Seventy-Sixers’ President Billy King last week and demanded a trade, it appears that Philly will finally give in to the six-foot, 165 pound warrior. Just like everything else; everyone knows that almost everything Iverson has ordered, requested, mentioned, subtly hinted at, not so subtly hinted at, and probably dreamt a couple of times when he was a toddler has become part of the Sixer Doctrine. He’s just about always gotten his way ever since he was drafted with the first pick in 1996.

He’s selfish. He’s a coach killer. He’s a distraction. He makes his own rules. He shoots at a low percentage. He’s a black hole on offense and a liability on defense. All of it may be true. And who can forget his 20-minute diatribe about the supposed overblown attention he was receiving for missing “practice. I mean, we’re talking about practice!”? Poor Larry “Play the Right Way” Brown’s health problems may have started at that very moment!

Yes, saying Iverson has baggage is like saying that OJ had some legal problems. But it’s also important to remember that this tiny man -at least by NBA standards- is among the ten best players in the league and is one of the most electrifying talents to ever suit up. Anyone who’s ever watched him play knows there are at least a few times during every game where everyone in the building knows AI is about to break a defender’s ankles with his signature crossover. He’ll get to the basket and no one has the power to stop it; it’s as if everyone else is moving in slow motion.

There are many questions when it comes to AI and the Celtics. For one, no one knows if either Iverson or Paul Pierce can deal with having someone else be The Man. For sure, Iverson’s never played with anyone as good as Pierce (Heck, it’s arguable that he’s never played with anyone as good as Wally Szczerbiak) and Pierce hasn’t played with anyone near the caliber of Iverson. Could the two of them come to some meeting of the minds and decide they would use their respective powers for good and make their team into one of the Eastern Conference elite? Or would their ego’s get in the way and cause an implosion the likes of which Boston has never before seen?

That’s issue numero uno for Danny Ainge to think about, even before he deals with which young players he might give up, Iverson’s age (31), or how much money he’s set to make over the next three years ($60 million).

If it works, it could finally make the Celtics relevant again in Boston and possibly make them a championship contender. And if it doesn’t…well, it could be ugly.

Ah, the questions that come with The Answer.