NBA: 76ers bring Iverson back
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009
PHILADELPHIA ó Dust off the No. 3 jersey. Allen Iverson is with the 76ers again.
Iverson signed a free-agent contract with Philadelphia on Wednesday, three years after their acrimonious split led to his trade and seemingly ended any chance of his return. Iverson’s brief retirement is over and he’s expected to make his debut Monday at home against Denver.
The Sixers needed a replacement once they lost starting point guard Lou Williams, who’s expected to miss eight weeks after jaw surgery. Williams, who averaged 17.4 points and 5.1 assists, broke his jaw in a loss to Washington on Nov. 24.
Iverson, his agent and business manager met with team president Ed Stefanski, coach Eddie Jordan and two other members of the organization Monday to talk about returning.
“Without really seeing him on the floor, I would like to compare him to Brett Favre, a guy who people think is too old to play and he’s almost having an MVP year,” Jordan said. “That’s off the top of my head. When I woke up this morning, I said, ‘Maybe he can be that.’ It’s not a big maybe. I think he can be that.”
The 34-year-old Iverson announced his retirement last week after a stint with the Memphis Grizzlies. The 10-time All-Star was NBA MVP in 2001, when he led the Sixers to the NBA finals.
“We had, at times, a rocky road with Allen Iverson, but we also had a fantastic run with Allen,” Peter Luukko, COO of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the 76ers and Flyers, told The Associated Press. “The expectations with Allen have changed dramatically. We’re not looking for Allen to individually lead this team the way he has in the past.”
Iverson was offered a one-year, non-guaranteed contract Tuesday, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the talks were private.
The Sixers would owe just under $650,000 if they guarantee his contract for the remainder of the season on Jan. 10.
“The whole situation wasn’t about the contract and the money,” Iverson’s agent, Leon Rose, told The AP. “It was about the opportunity and the chance to come to Philadelphia.”
In 10 seasons with the Sixers, Iverson posted the highest scoring average in team history (28.1), was second on the points list (19,583) and holds the record for 3-pointers (877). He was a seven-time All-Star, won four scoring titles and two All-Star game MVPs.