Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
LAS VEGAS – Why would the Los Angeles Clippers want to thrust Allen Iverson(notes) into the life of gifted young guard Eric Gordon(notes)? The answer is as simple as it's flawed: box office over basketball. The worst owner in sports, Donald T. Sterling, believes A.I. can do what No. 1 pick Blake Griffin(notes) has been thus far unable – sell tickets.
Perhaps the Clippers could give winning a chance, but Sterling is hell-bent on dysfunction. Everyone walked out of the Thomas & Mack Center late Monday so impressed with the Clippers' young cornerstones, Griffin and Gordon. Yet, Sterling, sitting courtside, couldn't see the truth unfolding before his eyes. Iverson is a bad investment for the Clippers. Iverson is a shell of himself now, and worst of all, he's the last to know.
Nevertheless, the Clippers are far behind in tickets sales over this time a year ago, according to internal NBA data obtained by Yahoo! Sports. As of July 6, the Clippers were significantly down in season ticket-renewals and new plans. The NBA's analysis projected a 29.3 percent drop in ticket revenue for Clippers for the 2009-10 season.
"That's the only reason [the Clippers] are even thinking of doing this," one rival GM said. "Why else do this to Gordon?"
The most money available to Iverson would be a one-year deal at the mid-level exception of $5.8 million. He still thinks he can restore his starry reputation with a high-scoring season. Iverson still believes his chance to get one more big contract will be born out of a lot of shots and a lot of scoring. Those days are done for Iverson, who proved himself unwilling, and maybe incapable, of playing a complementary role with the Detroit Pistons last season.
When he couldn't be a starter, he gladly accepted banishment with a "back injury." Alongside Baron Davis(notes), the prospect of Iverson infringing on Gordon's development is toxic. Gordon is 20 years old. He tried to play the earnest kid when asked about the possibility of Iverson joining the Clippers, but deep down, he has to understand this is the worst scenario for his sophomore season in the pros.
Miami is offering less than $3 million a season to play with Dwyane Wade(notes), a circumstance that makes more basketball sense for the Heat. They need another scorer, and young Miami guard Mario Chalmers(notes) isn't nearly the prospect that Gordon is with the Clippers. The Memphis Grizzlies are offering the mid-level, too, but they're just another desperate, wayward franchise that thinks Iverson can still sell some seats.
It's no accident that two of the worst owners in the NBA, Sterling and Michael Heisley, are pushing their basketball executives to chase one of summer shopping's worst ideas: Allen Iverson. There's a reason these teams are in the lottery every year, and here's another why they'll be back again.
Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith(notes) is serving a 30-day sentence in a New Jersey prison for his role in an automobile accident that took the life of a close friend, Andre Bell, in 2007. Several Denver coaches, including Adrian Dantley, have flown to New Jersey for the 15-minute visitation periods allowed Smith.
Nate Robinson(notes) has significant interest from Olympiakos of Greece, but a source close to him says it's unlikely to seriously interest the New York Knicks guard. Robinson wants to play for the Knicks, and a source says the solution for the restricted free agent could be a one-year offer deal with New York that leaves the team the flexibility it wants for the summer of 2010.
Detroit is still exploring ways to make a deal for Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer(notes), but the most likely scenario centers around the free-agent signing of Drew Gooden(notes), and distantly, Boston's Glen "Big Baby" Davis.
From the you-can't-make-it-up department: The NBA's commissioner and owners gathered on Tuesday for an important board of governors' meeting. The location? The Fantasy Tower at the Palms Hotel and Casino. No word whether the Sacramento Kings' owners, Gavin and Joe Maloof, who own the Palms, are providing for refreshments.
The Minnesota Timberwolves' coaching search continues to be endless in its number of introductory interviews and meetings, a total that new Timberwolves general manager David Kahn had promised could reach 15. Mark Jackson is still the favorite, but an endless line of assistant coaches have met with Kahn.
Spartak St. Petersburg of Russia was offering big money for an American coach, and multiple sources say it unsuccessfully courted former USC coach Tim Floyd. His condition for considering the job, one source said, was getting 100 percent of his money in advance of the season. Several Russian teams had financial problems a year ago that resulted in coaches and players failing to get paid. Spartak declined, and Floyd passed on the job.
Maurice Cheeks has been offered a job on Scott Brooks' staff with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He's still deciding.
New Jersey assistant Brian Hill leads new Detroit coach John Kuester's short wish list for a top aide. The Nets have mandated slashes in assistant coaching salaries, and Hill's departure could be welcome by the franchise's ownership. Nevertheless, Nets coach Lawrence Frank values Hill, one of his mentors, and would likely fight hard to retain him.
The D-League's expansion team starting play in Portland, Maine, is leaning toward hiring Boston Celtics scout Austin Ainge as its next head coach, sources said. He is the son of Celtics GM, Danny Ainge. …Idaho Stampede coach Bryan Gates, considered the D-League's best coach, met with Sacramento's Paul Westphal about a job on his new staff.