Why Iverson isn't a Clipper



Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears has an interview with Allen Iverson today and also includes this nugget about why Iverson did not sign with the Los Angeles Clippers this summer:

A.I. almost a Clipper?

Iverson can ponder what might have been when the Grizzlies visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. Back in July, the Clippers seriously contemplated offering him a one-year contract paying up to $4 million so he could be a “Vinnie Johnson-type” player, a source with knowledge of the talks said. Denver Nuggets assistant Tim Grgurich, who was considered for a job on Mike Dunleavy’s staff over the offseason, also strongly recommended Iverson to the franchise.

The Clippers, however, were concerned about how Iverson’s addition would affect the development of second-year shooting guard Eric Gordon, along with other chemistry issues. The Clippers cooled on the idea after Iverson told Dunleavy in a phone conversation that he would have a serious problem with coming off the bench.

The possibility of signing Iverson became a dead issue once the Clippers acquired guard Sebastian Telfair and swingman Rasual Butler. But had A.I. been fine with coming off the bench, he could very well be with the Clippers now.

There are a couple of bits of relevant news here: One is that the Clippers intended to use Iverson in the "super sub/instant offense" role I've written about. The other is that the Clippers organization clearly discussed this role with Iverson, found out he would not be willing to accept it, and thus did not sign him.

You know it's getting bad when your organization makes the Clippers look professional by comparison. If the Grizzlies had visions of using Iverson in this kind of role — and based on Michael Heisley's public comments published this summer in the Commercial Appeal, that seems to be the case — then why didn't they broach this subject with Iverson in direct terms? And if they didn't have an intent of bringing him off the bench, then why didn't they let Iverson, the team, and everyone else know they intend to start him when he's fully integrated into the team?

Leaving things vague and taking a "we'll see what happens" approach is a recipe for trouble, which should have been apparent from the outset. I've criticized Iverson for his post-game comments after his first appearance, and I think that criticism is warranted. But the real fault here lies with the Grizzlies organization.

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