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Iverson could deliver another Clipper mess

Adrian Wojnarowski
Yahoo Sports

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Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
(NBAE/ Getty)

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.


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