LAS VEGAS – Don’t expect Allen Iverson(notes) to wear a Memphis Grizzlies uniform next season. His chances of suiting up for the Los Angeles Clippers don’t look too good, either.
Two sources with knowledge of the Grizzlies’ plans said Thursday that any negotiations between the team and Iverson were “dead.” Memphis offered Iverson a one-year, $5 million contract with the stipulation that he would likely need to come off the bench. The Grizzlies, however, have not spoken to Iverson or his management team since early July, and neither side appears to have any interest in restarting talks.
“Why would a future Hall of Famer come off the bench for a team that won’t make the playoffs?” said one Western Conference executive.
Though Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said he’d be willing to add Iverson, some team officials worry about the impact Iverson’s dominant personality would have on young guards O.J. Mayo(notes) and Michael Conley.
Much like the Grizzlies, the Clippers were intrigued by Iverson’s ability to sell tickets, as well as his talent. One agent who had spoken to Clippers officials in recent days said the team was distancing itself from Iverson after acquiring point guard Sebastian Telfair(notes) from the Minnesota Timberwolves and is possibly weighing an offer to free-agent guard Ramon Sessions(notes) – though one NBA source cautioned there was still “some life” in talks between the two sides.
Clippers second-year guard Eric Gordon(notes) stands to be among the most impacted should the team sign Iverson, but he’s kept an open mind (at least publicly) about the possibility he and A.I. could become teammates.
“Iverson is a Hall of Famer,” Gordon said at the Team USA minicamp. “But everyone is talking about how he is a different guy in the locker room and on the court. A.I.’s a big personality. Dude is a warrior. You can always learn from that and take that as an advantage for any of his teammates.
“We almost play the same position, but I’m not too worried about it. Things happen all the time. You just got to adjust.”
With the Grizzlies moving on and the Clippers’ interest apparently waning, Iverson’s options on the free-agent market could be dwindling. League sources still counted the Miami Heat and Charlotte Bobcats as possible destinations.