September 13, 2010
Allen Iverson's(notes) 2009-10 season didn't go quite as he planned. After three games coming off the bench with the Grizzlies, he decided he hated coming off the bench for the Grizzlies and left the team. Then — after AI's brief retirement — because they're suckers for nostalgia, the 76ers brought Iverson back for a 25-game stint that ended with Iverson leaving the team to address his 4-year-old daughter's health problems. A divorce and allegations that Iverson was gambling and drinking excessively followed. All in all, not a great few months for one of the NBA's biggest stars of the past decade.
This past July, Iverson Tweeted that he wants to "return to the NBA this season" and that he "[owes his] fans more than what they have seen of [him] the last couple seasons." Plus, his "family is rock solid and healthy" and he can "concentrate fully on what [he does] best." That's a quote festival, but it basically addresses everything that was troubling Iverson during last season.
[Related: Agent 'astonished' no NBA team is interested]
Unfortunately for the Answer, there aren't a lot of NBA teams dying to sign a shoot-first 35-year-old who is going to complain about his role on the team if he's not happy. But that doesn't mean he can't get back to playing basketball professionally. There are good leagues all over the globe and new reports, courtesy of The Hoops Market, shed a little light on Iverson's possible plans.
Allen Iverson could continue his career in China. The 35-year-old guard is in talks with Foshan (the new name of Shaanxi) for the next season, according to sources from the Chinese team. Iverson, still a free agent after not signing a contract with any NBA team, would have a "strong desire" to play in the CBA.
Hey, if there's a place that scoring guards can succeed both on the court and away from it, it's China. As Stephon Marbury(notes) has shown us, Chinese basketball for super-quick ball-handlers is all 3-pointers, alley-hoops and shoe franchises. And if Stephon Marbury can be an outrageous success, then so can a lot of other people.
Of course, there remains a month and a half before the NBA season tips and some teams might still be convinced that Iverson has some floaters left in the tank (gross metaphor). Plus, they always seem to be drawn to Iverson's ability to lure customers to the ticket booths, so there's a chance he could get a non-guaranteed veteran's minimum deal somewhere. But, at the very least, it looks like Allen Iverson is going to have a basketball job this season. For a guy who's had a pretty rough year, that's good news.
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