Monday, November 16, 2009

Iverson Out

Posted By on Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 8:52 PM

Byeverson: We hardly knew ye, A.I., but we sure felt your impact.
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Byeverson: We hardly knew ye, A.I., but we sure felt your impact.
The Memphis Grizzlies officially severed ties with AWOL Allen Iverson this afternoon, announcing the mutual decision to end the relationship with a the following statement this afternoon:

The Memphis Grizzlies today released the following statement from General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace.

“The Grizzlies and Allen Iverson have come to a mutual agreement that because of personal matters that forced him to leave the team on November 7, Allen will step away from the game at this time, allowing him to focus on those matters.

“As a result, we will be ending our contractual agreement with Allen, which will allow both parties to move forward. We wish Allen the best.”

The initial read around the country was that no other team would have interest in Iverson, but it looks like there may be one exception: The New York Daily News' Frank Isola is reporting that the New York Knicks management will look to meet with Iverson to explore a potential signing.

The first reaction from Grizzlies fans might be to wonder why the team would simply waive Iverson if another team has interest, but there's nothing the Knicks could or would give the Grizzlies for Iverson that the Grizzlies would or should want. And if Iverson signs with the Knicks, it would likely be for roughly a third of the $3.1 million contract he'd gotten from the Grizzlies.

I feel like I should write something more substantial about Iverson's final exit, but there's really nothing to say I didn't already say here.

I will reprint something I wrote in my post-game report on the Grizzlies' weekend win over the Wolves, which I think underscores some of the opportunity cost in owner Michael Heisley's short-sighted, starstruck management of the team this summer:

Better tonight was Ramon Sessions who came off the bench for 13 points and 8 assists, splitting time between both backcourt spots, his quick first step giving O.J. Mayo, in particular, fits.

The Grizzlies discussed a trade with the Bucks last year that would have exchanged Mike Conley for Sessions, but Bucks ownership reportedly wouldn't pull the trigger. And the Grizzlies considered giving Sessions an offer sheet this summer, but were reluctant to commit multiple years with the cap likely to shrink and with potentially multiple players coming up for extensions. I understand this reasoning, but I don't agree with it. The combined salaries this season for Sessions ($3.7 million) and that of renounced free agent Hakim Warrick ($3.0) is roughly equal to the combined salaries of Grizzlies acquisitions Allen Iverson ($3.1) and Steven Hunter ($3.7). There's no guarantee that the Grizzlies could have had both Warrick and Sessions this season, but I think the odds are pretty good. And this team would look a lot better right now if they'd gone in that direction.

So closes the book on the misguided, poorly handled by all involved, and opportunity squandering Allen Iverson Era for the Grizzlies. He's being replaced now on the roster by the less talented, less popular, potentially more troubled, but presumably less trouble-causing Jamaal Tinsley, of whom I still haven't written much. I'll have to target tomorrow for a more extensive look at the Tinsley signing, ahead of what will likely be his debut Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

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