Wade Makes Public Plea to Sign Iverson
Allen Iverson is working out this week.
Just not for any NBA teams.
Iverson is in his hometown of Hampton, Va., for a week of public appearances, including a four-day basketball camp that began Wednesday.
Iverson, 34, is one of the NBA's top remaining unsigned free agents, but he is facing a major pay cut. He made more than $21 million last year with the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons but is probably headed for no more than a mid level exception deal ($5.85 million) and perhaps the veteran's minimum ($1.3 million).
"That says a lot about the economics of the league," ESPN analyst Tim Legler said.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, waiting to sign an extension to see whether the club is serious about building a championship contender, welcomes the idea of signing Iverson.
"With AI, you look at a guy who is one of the best to ever put on an NBA jersey," Wade said in an interview with Miami's WQAM-AM radio this week, "a guy who can still score in the right offense, in the right flow. So you can never turn your nose up at a guy like Allen Iverson."
The Heat, who hope to be a big player in the 2010 free agent sweepstakes, have been quiet this summer. But Wade isn't sure that's a good idea.
Already in the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers have traded for center Shaquille O'Neal, the Orlando Magic acquired guard Vince Carter (although they probably will lose forward Hedo Turkoglu to the Toronto Raptors) and the Boston Celtics on Wednesday signed forward Rasheed Wallace.
"Just because there are a lot of free agents (in 2010) doesn't mean we're going to get one," Wade told The Miami Herald. "With other teams getting better, we don't know what's going to happen, positive or negative. If we can be proactive and get someone now, then let's get proactive."
Clubs might think the sooner the better after the NBA projected a significant decrease in the 2010-11 salary cap. The union for the players, the NBA Players Association, is upset over the warning, saying the NBPA has no basis to confirm the projections.
The Herald reported the Heat have been in contact with Iverson but would want him to sign a one-year deal, something Iverson is considering.
"The fact that Dwyane is there and (club President) Pat Riley has something to do with personnel, it seems like a great situation," Iverson told The Herald. "I just want a situation where I can win and be happy. Being that those two guys are there, man, it just seems it'll be a good deal."
Legler isn't so sure Iverson would mesh on a team featuring Wade: "(Iverson's) game is so unique and he needs a unique personnel set around him. The Detroit experiment put to bed the notion he can be a piece to put you over the top."
Other clubs got right to business Wednesday, the first day for signing free agents. The Los Angeles Lakers came to terms with 6-7 forward Ron Artest, who said after competing against Kobe Bryant, "I always wanted to be a teammate of his."
The move, Legler said, makes the Lakers favorites to win the NBA title again in 2010.
The Celtics' shake-up might not end with the Wallace signing. According to The Boston Globe, general manager Danny Ainge is pursuing Phoenix Suns free agent forward Grant Hill, 36, who this week met with the New York Knicks. The Globe also reported restricted free agent forward Glen Davis is receiving interest from the Pistons, San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Hornets. The Celtics, who also like Davis, can match any offer he receives.
The Pistons signed free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, formerly of the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks, respectively.
But several players are choosing to stay with their teams, including Nuggets center Chris Andersen, Lakers guard Shannon Brown and two Atlanta Hawks, center Zaza Pachulia and guard Mike Bibby.
The Spurs continue to add pieces in an effort to dethrone the Lakers in the West, reaching a deal with Pistons free agent forward-center Antonio McDyess. He joins a club that has added forward Richard Jefferson and drafted forward DeJuan Blair.
The Dallas Morning News reported the Dallas Mavericks were trying to work out a sign-and-trade deal for Raptors forward Shawn Marion, 31, a good defender who likely would play well in Dallas' up-tempo game.