The morning after Allen Iverson’s Sixers beat the Knicks (and just 48 hours after CSTB noted the way he’s carrying a shitty team), budding TV starlet Stephen A. Smith writes that the Philadelphia G is sick and tired of being sick and tired. From the Philadelphia Inquirer :
Allen Iverson wants out of Philadelphia. Unless the Sixers get a credible team on the floor. Preferably now! Several sources confirmed yesterday that Iverson’s agent, Leon Rose, met with Sixers president and general manager Billy King on Friday.
Iverson, although happy with some parts of the team, is far from excited about the roster presently assembled. He isn’t happy about being part of a rebuilding project in his ninth season in the league.
“He wants to win now,” one source close to Iverson said. “This is not about him being interested in leaving the Sixers or the fans in Philadelphia. He loves it here and loves being here. But the bottom line is that he doesn’t want to be here if this team isn’t trying to win right now.
“It’s no secret [the Sixers] are mediocre, that he has no secondary offensive option to help him out. And by the looks of things, he isn’t about to get any help, either. At some point, you start asking yourself, ‘What else can I do?’ A.I. has done that. Now he’s flat-out asked the Sixers, ‘If you can’t make this situation any better, after all I’ve done, can you please at least do me a favor and get me out of here?’ ”
King, clearly perturbed when asked about the subject, had little to say: “I talked with Allen extensively and I’m not about to comment on what was said or what will come of it.”
Iverson confirmed that his agent met with King to express unhappiness with the Sixers’ current set of circumstances: “Go ahead. Say what you have to say.”
Considering that the Sixers are still wondering whether they’ll even qualify for the playoffs, Iverson’s patience has clearly been exhausted. And who knows how annoyed he’ll get once the NBA’s Feb. 24 trading deadline comes and goes and the Sixers have done nothing?
There were rumors that Keith Van Horn and Joe Smith could have come to Philadelphia weeks ago for “Big Dog” Glenn Robinson and Corliss Williamson. In recent days, there was speculation that Latrell Sprewell could end up here for Robinson if the Sixers were willing to part with Willie Green as well, which they were not.
And for those who believe either deal would qualify as a remedy to the Sixers’ problems, I’ll join Iverson in asking, “What world are you living in?”
The bad thing about this whole fiasco-in-waiting is that the Sixers will be pretty ticked off with Iverson. The good news is that Iverson couldn’t care less.
He says he’s been upset with coach Jim O’Brien for weeks for what are perceived as mind games played to the detriment of Green, Samuel Dalembert, Kenny Thomas, Marc Jackson and others; and for O’Brien’s private assertion that Iverson could be doing more to help this team win. But Iverson also has been fuming over the frequent presence of former interim coach Chris Ford at games and practices.
The former three-time scoring champion, one-time league MVP and 2004-05 scoring leader doesn’t appreciate seeing Ford, with whom he had numerous run-ins last season, walking around as a member of the organization, its pro-personnel scout.
“I can tell you this,” another of Iverson’s friends said, “A.I. does not like that man. He felt totally disrespected by [Ford] throughout last season. And for the Sixers to presently have him employed with the organization, allowed to walk around, sitting in suites with Billy King, acting as if nothing ever happened, is extremely insulting to A.I. He talks about it every single day.”
Though Iverson is having a great season, given his age, the pounding he’s taken, his huge contract and general shoot-first, pass later mentality, what contending team is going to make a move for him?