Clearly this was not what Stephen Jackson had in mind whenhe said he was "made for the playoffs and championships."Allen Iverson:
Three games. The Allen Iverson Experiment in Memphis lasted only three games before Iverson left the team for "personal reasons," which probably had as much to do with him coming off the bench as anything else. Now the Grizzlies have cut The Not Answer loose. Ironically, the team's acquisition of Jamaal Tinsley -- whom the Indiana Pacers had spent the better part of the last two seasons paying millions of dollars to just stay away -- sealed Iverson's fate. According to Memphis GM Chris Wallace: "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."
Iverson never even played a game on the Grizzlies' home court.
It was a doomed marriage to begin with. Iverson seems to truly believe he's still a superstar who deserves carte blanch...which means a starting role and 20-25 shots per game. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, are building around young players like Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, Hasheem Thabeet and DeMarre Carroll. For better or worse, those players are the future in Memphis. Iverson, on the other hand, was a stop gap at best. And besides, he had no real interest in playing for a celler dweller like the Grizzlies. They were simply the only team willing to sign him, and he was trying to reboot his career in the hopes of maybe hooking up with a contender once he'd proved himself again. Well...REBOOT FAIL.
Iverson clearly doesn't feel like he should have to prove himself at all. He looks in the mirror and sees a four-time scoring champion, 10-time All-Star and former MVP who recently became only the 16th player in NBA history to score 24,000 points. On paper, he looks like a real catch. Kind of like Paris Hilton. But in reality, he's a flawed, inefficient player with a me-first attitude. Well, maybe me-first is the wrong way to put it. He wants to win, truly desires team success, but only on his own terms. Wait...I guess me-first was the right way to put it after all.
A few years ago, Iverson and Kevin Garnett were two of the great "what if" players in NBA history, and perhaps the two greatest of the last decade. Everyone always wondered: "What if AI and KG had quality teammates? What would happen then?"
Well, we found out, didn't we? Garnett, once he was paired with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, steamrolled to a championship. Meanwhile, Iverson failed to lift the Nuggets (who improved immensely when he was exchanged for Chauncey Billups) and then completely bombed in Detroit (and there's no question that the Pistons were and are better off without him). And now his three-game stint in Memphis has further stained the reputation of someone who, until recently, was often talked about as one of the all-time greats.
Personally, I never quite understood that. In the end, was Iverson effectively any greater than, say, Dominique Wilkins or Pistol Pete Maravich? Those three players were all brilliant showmen, high-powered scorers, outstanding on an individual basis. They all could have won a lot of tropies if the NBA was a one-on-one league in which games were played to 11 by 1s aned 2s. But it's not. It's a team sport. And Iverson's best season happened only because Larry Brown coached the hell out of a Sixers team full of roleplayers who were willing to kill themselves despite never touching the ball. Iverson benefitted from the perfect storm of circumstances that season. And you'll notice that he never came close to reaching that level of team success ever again. It was an abberation more than an indication of greatness.
Is Iverson finished in the NBA. Maybe. Probably. Although I read that the New York Knicks have expressed interest. Fitting, huh? You'd think that Donnie Walsh would be smart enough to avoid the possibility of another Stephon Marbury-type situation. Of course, if anybody can resurrect Iverson's career, it's Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni. You can bet he'd be willing to start Iverson and let him chuck 'em up without remorse...just like everyone else on the Bricks.
My biggest regret in this whole mess is that the league won't be able to give Iverson a bogus spot on the All-Star team. Which is too bad, because Basketbawful reader Jordan sent in the perfect promo poster:Stephen Jackson:
In the ultimate example of "be careful what you wish for" -- not to mention poetic justice -- Captain Jack was finally traded to the Charlotte Bobcats. Of course, that wasn't exactly was S-Jax had in mind this summer when he made his much-publicized trade demands and said
: "I'm made for the playoffs and championships. That's what I play for. I'm Big Shot Jack." His wish list included Cleveland, New York, or one of the Texas teams.
Well, New York was out of the question (they're still saving cap space for next summers doomed-to-failure run at Lebron). The Mavericks are on fire and don't need him. The Rockets and Spurs go after character guys, so they probably don't want him. There was talk about the Cavaliers trying to deal for Jackson, but their supposed offer included a sign-and-trade of Wally Szczerbiak (who's still recovering from a major knee surgery and currently out of the league indefinitely) and Delonte West (who could end up in jail on gun charges). The Warriors wanted Jackson gone...but not that badly. So they were willing to take Charlotte's deal which included Raja Bell and Vladimir "Space Cadat" Radmanovic. One, two, three, pass the trash!
Jackson, for his part, is taking the moral low ground and blaming the Warriors for the whole mess: "I wanted to be out pretty bad. Things were going bad. I was getting blamed for everything. I wasn't seeing eye to eye with the team. I got fined in preseason, which was ridiculous. It was just a lot of things that I didn't agree with that was going on."
One thing in Captain Jack's favor is that he'll be coached by Larry Brown, the same guy who managed to squeeze some blood out of the Allen Iverson turnip. And let's face it, Charlotte is the league's lowest scoring team...so they need the help. Said Brown: "I know Stephen, he loves to play, and we've got to make it work out -- and I'm confident it will."
S-Jax was pretty thrilled to hear about that, and anxious to take a stab at Don Nelson: "The kind of coach I want that has your back. That's something that's big to me. If a coach has my back, then I don't mind playing 110 percent for him." You might wonder where Jackson's going to get that extra 10 percent. Well, since he's been giving about zero percent on the defensive end for the last couple seasons, he's got plenty of percents to give.Mark Stevens:
You may not know him, but he's Stephen Jackson's agent. You know, the man who got his client traded to the Bobcats. Well, Jackson wanted to be on a contender, and that's what he got. Of course, the 'Cats are contending to become the lowest scoring team of the shot clock era...but that's still contending! Stevens, predictably, is on spin control: "He's happy about the trade, delighted about the trade. This is what he wanted, a new start, and this gives him a chance to compete. Plus he's a huge fan of that team's president, Michael Jordan." Riiiiiight. And let me guess...you have some swamp land in Florida to sell me, too, right?The Charlotte Bobcats:
Let's hope the Captain Jack trade breaths some life into this depressing team. Last night, they managed to shoot over 50 percent and outscore the Magic (who, of course, have All-Star center Dwight Howard) 40-36 in the paint, but failed nonetheless thanks in part to 11 missed free throws and the 21 points they gave up on 17 turnovers. What a waste of a career-high-tying 31-point effort from Flip Murray. The 97-91 setback was Charlotte's fifth straight loss and their 11th consecutive defeat on the road dating back to last season. The 'Cats are now 1-10 all-time when playing in Orlando.
By the way, Jackson's debut with his new team was highlighted by 13 points in 14 shots and a game-high 4 turnovers.The Oden Watch:
Another game, another 5 personal fouls for Big Greg. It's also worth noting that The Next Great Center (11 points, 5-for-9, 7 rebounds, 1 block, game-high 4 turnovers) was thoroughly outplayed by his Atlantean counterpart Al Horford (15 points, 7-for-10, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, no turnovers). Heck, even Hawks pine rider Zaza Pachulia (7 points, 9 boards) outrebounded him despite playing 14 fewer minutes. As always, I'm just sayin'...The New Jersey Nyets:
Basketbawful reader Alex K. sent in one of the most depressing e-mails a basketball fan can ever receive from his team. Said Alex: "In case you didn't see this already, this pretty much sums up what it's like to be a Nets fan. Ugh."Isiah Thomas:
Like Sugar Ray said: it never ends...it never ends
I didn't see Pau on CSI
last night, but Dan B. sent me the link to the KenTremendous Twitter
, which has some funny Pau-on-CSI-themed jokes. Can anybody let me know how it was?Lacktion Report:
After watching Derek Anderson compile a fourth-quarter passer rating of 3.1 on Monday Night Football, Chris somehow had the strength of will left to report on the NBA lacktion:
Blazers-Hawks: Joe Smith and Maurice Evans each gave the dirty birds a +2 suck differential, through differing means: Evans via two bricks in 5:53, and Smith via two fouls in 3:58.
Mavs-Bucks: James Singleton fouled twice and missed one shot for a +3 in 2:33.
Labels: Allen Iverson, Charlotte Bobcats, fan submissions, Golden State Warriors, Greg Oden, Isiah Thomas, Pau Gasol, Stephen Jackson, team cancers