You just have to wonder: Why would Allen Iverson consider a return to the pro basketball in the NBA Development League?
We’re talking about D-League! D-League?!?
Word surfaced Monday that the Texas Legends are in hot pursuit of the former scoring champ and MVP, team sources confirmed to FOXSportsSouthwest.com. The Frisco-based franchise is the D-League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks and co-owned by Mavericks president Donnie Nelson.
Iverson would certainly be a draw at Dr Pepper Arena and around the NBA’s minor-league circuit. Few players over the last two decades approach the popularity AI enjoys around the world.
The Answer is polarizing and a basketball genius. There hasn’t been a little guy dominate a big man’s game the way Iverson did during his Philadelphia heyday. Say what you want about his authority-questioning attitude and tatted appearance, AI left a mark on the NBA that won’t be erased.
There’s also no reason to add to his legacy.
Bringing Iverson aboard is a brilliant marketing move by Nelson and Co., and it most probably helps the Legends win a few more games. From an NBA basketball standpoint, it makes little-to-no sense.
The ‘D’ in D-League stands for Development. Not Dinosaur. It’s supposed to be a place for young players, either already on NBA teams or trying to make it, to get playing time and, well, develop.
Yes, the Legends have done an admirable job of giving older vets a second or third shot at life in the NBA. Mike James, 37, just had a two-game trial with the Legends that turned into two 10-day contracts and finally a deal for the rest of the season with the Mavericks.
James, though, is a journeyman. He had to prove to NBA teams that he could not still play, but accept a role at the back end of someone’s roster. The Mavericks decided Sunday night to keep James after he played all of 88 seconds in a win over the Suns.
Unless he has some unknown affinity for Texas A&M, no way AI is cool with being a 12th man. Iverson’s act was tolerable back in the day because he was the man. Slipping into secondary status late in what was his NBA career didn’t suit him well.
And Iverson didn’t leave the Association on the highest of notes, flaming out with the Grizzlies and 76ers three years ago. Remember that tearful reunion in Philly, kissing center court and all? The good vibes quickly faded to bitterness as it became evident that the Sixers were better off without their one-time franchise star.
Iverson isn’t an NBA star anymore. He can’t keep up with the likes of Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook or Tony Parker or Deron Williams. He hasn’t earned the goodwill that older vets like Steve Nash and Jason Kidd still posses.
So if he does land in Frisco, how long until feathers get ruffled? If Iverson isn’t called up in say a week, does he start to rebel?
Iverson had a problem with coaching legends Larry Brown and George Karl. Do you really think he’ll respond positively should issues arise with Legends coach Eduardo Najera? Eddie is 36. Iverson, 37.
What the Legends are trying to do is understandable on several fronts. Some might consider the act of giving AI another shot noble. But for Iverson it makes little sense.