Thursday, April 20, 2006

Pull the trigger, Billy (not that one, though)

The "Trade Allen Iverson" rumors are starting to become a summer time tradition, kind of like hearing the ice cream man's music for the first time. Once you hear Philly half-heartedly trying to trade AI, its safe to run through sprinklers, drink lemonade and swim in your neighbor's pool when they aren't home because they won't let you swim there anymore because for some reason they think you ruined their pool the one time you were there, even though you didn't really do that, it was like that when you got there....ah, where were we?

Oh, right - Iverson. Every year now, it seems, the Sixers aren't very good, so Philly claims it wants to ship the face of the franchise out of town. But there are a couple problems with this:

1) He isn't getting any younger. Iverson turns 31 in a couple of months, and with the way he plays - just throwing his body recklessly, almost carelessly into high risk situations - that age is higher than it looks. It makes you wonder how long he can keep that up.

2) His attitude. This is well documented, but showing up late for Fan Appreciation Night seems to be if not the final nail in the coffin, one of the last. Billy King was pissed. If a team is going to take him on, they are going to get an insane amount of hustle, energy at both ends and one of the greatest scorers ever, period. But they also get a borderline headcase. Iverson just plays by different rules, period, and that can be infuriating, but that's just the way he is. That isn't changing now.

3) You have to revolve your entire offense around him. And this seems to be the real hang up. Because if you are already a contender, you have guys who you are running your offense through, and if you bring in AI, its unlikely the two can coexist. There simply aren't enough basketballs for AI and any other top-flight player. And if you are in the building phase, bringing in AI means blowing up the rebuilding process.

So Iverson seems screwed. And he probably is. But we think we found a situation that could work. It isn't exactly ideal, but after looking over the rosters, it seems like the most viable move. Ship The Answer to Orlando. Trade him for Grant Hill, straight up.

Clearly, Philly just needs to start over. They should take whatever they can get for Iverson. And with one of the five-highest payrolls in the NBA, they need to start saving money too. Iverson makes 16 mil and change; Hill makes 15 mil and change, so the money works out. But Hill's contract expires at the end of next season. Getting Iverson's salary of the books should be enough incentive for Billy King to pull the trigger (on the trade, not on the gun that King has pointed at this temple). Plus, as a bonus, what if Hill gets healthy? What if he plays 70 games? When Hill is healthy, he's an All-Star, plus he has a great attitude. So roll the dice, Philly. And if you can find an option better than this, take it.

But why would Orlando make this trade? First of all, it gives them a chance to make a deep playoff run right away. Remember that Philly team lost to the Lakers in the finals? Iverson running around, shooting whenever he wanted - hey, kinda like now - but he had Mutumbo underneath to grab all his misses? Well, Orlando has The Man Child that is Dwight Howard underneath and guess what: he's second in the NBA in both overall and offensive rebounds. Dwight should be salivating at the chance to go get all those boards.

This really has a chance to work in Orlando, we think. They need to get a defensive stopper on the perimeter, and they can be a hell of a team. Having Iverson shifts defensive focus from Howard, who every time we see him, has three defenders just draped all over him. If Darko and Ariza continue to emerge, and they can convince Arroyo that "Orlando" is English for "Puerto Rico" so he plays like he does in the Olympics, and this is an automatic contender in the East. Plus, Iverson would look sweet in the shiny little starts. Do it, Orlando.

This may not be ideal for either team, but its close enough and its the best thing they are going to find. Pull the trigger, fellas.

1 comments so far. Might as well add your own.:

rockchalkin said...

OK, how many Magic games have you watched this year?