The Allen Iverson Watch is back on for the Grizzlies, announced by Iverson himself via this Twitter post yesterday:
Well I am about to begin another workout session. Agent informed me that Memphis made us an offer on yesterday. Stay tuned.9:03 AM Aug 26th from web
This was followed up yesterday afternoon with this:
Memphis is a place that I would love to play. The Grizzlies have good young players with a great upside. I love the city of Memphis too.about 17 hours ago from web
I would lead by example. I could show how important it is to work hard everyday, play the game the right way, & just like it's your last!about 17 hours ago from web
Grizzlies brass has confirmed ongoing interest in Iverson, interest that seems the be clearly emanating from the owner's box, where Georgetown alum Michael Heisley seems intrigued by Iverson's box-office potential and not particularly concerned about what his basketball people think.
The other team courting Iverson is the Charlotte Bobcats, and Charlotte writer Rick Bonnell has a great piece today on Iverson that taps the perspective of two men who have worked with Iverson and parted ways with him — former 76ers executive Billy King and Nuggets coach George Karl. The whole piece is worth a read, but here are some highlights:
“Everything is about Allen, and it can't all be about Allen at this point in his career,” King told the Observer. “He's no longer that intimidating figure who can just blow by everybody. So he's got to do other things, and I'm not sure he will.”
King believes Iverson is so conditioned to a certain mindset that it's too late, at 34, for him to re-invent himself.
“(Iverson's) personality is to say, ‘I can still do this. I can take all the shots and stay out late and do everything I did in my 20s,' '' King described. “He needs to get to the foul line (to be effective) and if that doesn't work, he'll be very quick to yell at the referees for not giving him calls.”
King says Iverson no longer can drive by most everyone in the NBA. That makes him more dependent on jump shots, and King describes Iverson's jumper as “average at best.”
The difference between Iverson and Bobcats managing partner Michael Jordan, King said, is that Jordan was cerebral enough late in his playing career to make it work beyond his prime — Jordan became more of a passer, rebounder and screen-setter.
“Allen never made the people around him better in the first place, because it's always about Allen,” King said.
Karl, a former North Carolina point guard, understands the challenges coaching Iverson. But he enjoyed it.
“I had very few problems from A.I., in terms of him doing everything I asked him to do,” said Karl, who coached Iverson for most of two years.
“I heard all the stories, but he said he was coming to make the basketball team better. We didn't hit a homerun, but we got better.”