Allen Iverson has been reported by the Miami Herald to have listed the Miami Heat as his preferred option for next season. But that's because the Heat are probably his only option.
While the Answer has shown throughout his career he can put the ball through the hoop at an incredible rate, the current iteration of the player raises far too many questions;signing Iverson the player also means signing Iverson the person. The 76ers, Nuggets and Pistons are very familiar with the headaches Iverson gives coaches, teammates and fans.
The Nuggets were all too eager to rid themselves of Iverson after just three games last season. Normally courteous and classy, Nuggets coach George Karl said this about his banished star, "There are less bad plays, more solid plays. I think the wasteful, cheap possessions that we used to have 10 to 15 times a game; they don't exist anymore. I don't think there's any question coaching a team for many minutes without a passing and point guard mentality is frustrating for a coach."
Denver finished 52-25 without Iverson while the Pistons had one of their worst seasons in recent memory by going 22-28 with A.I. on the court. He never meshed with the Pistons and when the head coach wanted to use him off the bench, Iverson said he would rather retire than play as a backup.
Iverson has clashed with every coach he has ever played under, and much like the person constantly complaining about how crazy all of their ex-significant others are, it's never Iverson's fault. But that act is wearing thin. No one is clamoring to sign the former MVP. At one time, Iverson was a deadly scorer capable of dropping 30 points with some steals, assists, and a rewind-the-TiVo-and-watch-it-again play every night.
But last season was the first time Iverson didn't average at least 20 points per game and he thinks he can rejuvenate his career playing for Pat Riley, the king of practice? Riley was once fined by the NBA for holding a practice on New Year's Day many years ago. Iverson's thoughts on practice? "We're talking about practice, man. I mean, how silly is that? We're talking about practice. I know I'm supposed to be there. I know I'm supposed to lead by example... I know it's important... I honestly do. But we're talking about practice, man. What are we talking about? Practice?"
While Riley no longer calls the plays, he might as well be. Head coach Erik Spoelstra has been with the team for 14 years and is cut from Riley's no-nonsense cloth. But even the youthful Spoelstra will look haggard with graying temples coaching Iverson. That's just what he does. Iverson makes life impossible for coaches.
Riley has had mixed results with castoffs and reclamation projects such as Lamar Odom (marijuana), Ricky Davis (insanity) and Antoine Walker (fat). Iverson, while diminutive in stature, has the power to torpedo an entire team.
The Heat's best option is to let Iverson sign with a team that wants him (doubtful if one exists), sneak into the playoffs as the seventh or eighth seed, appease D-Wade with a massive contract, and sign Chris Bosh when he becomes a free agent in 2010.
Iverson is a lot like The Who. That group was famous for leaving hotels completely destroyed and in shambles. That's just how Iverson left the Detroit Pistons. Let's hope Riley "Won't Get Fooled Again" by signing the quick-fixer who fixes nothing.
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