| ||Associated Press|
PHILADELPHIA -- Allen Iverson is still a member of the
Philadelphia 76ers and suddenly the team says that isn't a bad
After unsuccessfully trying to trade Iverson all summer, the
76ers are hoping this marriage can be saved.
"It seems everything that goes wrong with the organization is
Allen's fault. It's not," general manager Billy King said Monday
during an informal luncheon with reporters. "He has his faults,
but everything that's gone wrong in the organization is not his
fault. The kid has helped us win a lot of games. We can't say he's
destroyed everything around him."
Iverson, who has battled with coach Larry Brown for years, has
been mentioned in trade rumors since the season ended. King
conceded he nearly dealt the mercurial star, and still could.
"There's only one deal we came close to doing," King said.
"If I wanted to trade Allen today, I could. Would I get value?
King wouldn't mention the players involved in the deal that
almost happened. But, it reportedly involved four teams; the 76ers,
Detroit, Charlotte and the Los Angeles Lakers.
"If you are trading a player of Allen Iverson's caliber, you
have to get value back," King said. "If there is a perception
that a player is available, teams are not going to offer
Iverson, who helped the 76ers win 49 games and advance to the
Eastern Conference semifinals, found himself on the trading block
after a season in which he continually violated team rules.
He was fined more than 50 times for being late to practice, was
suspended for one game after missing a shootaround and repeatedly
ignored the team's dress code.
"This is a new season," King said. "We're going to start the
season and expect every player to adhere to the rules. I don't want
to look back at the past. We've admitted we didn't (enforce the
rules with every player). We haven't even come up with our team
rules. We'll do that in September."
Iverson, who immediately left Philadelphia after the season
ended, promised he'll return with a new, business-like attitude.
"I can play under Coach Brown. I don't have a problem with
Coach," Iverson said last month during a charity event in his
hometown of Virginia.
Brown made his position clear before the team held its rookie
camp last month.
"If he wants to be on time to practice, and practice on a daily
basis, and follow the rules all the other players follow, then he's
not going to have a problem with me," Brown said. "But if it
continues to be a situation where he's late, doesn't practice,
doesn't do the things other players do, then it's going to be a
King is encouraged that Iverson recently had a long talk with
team president Pat Croce, and he believes the situation could be
"It's worked out in mid-season when there's been a blow up,"
King said. "Pat had a good conversation with Allen for an
hour-and-a-half. Is it going to be Sesame Street? Probably not.
Things have a way of working out for the best."