Dallas, Boston eye A.I
The Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics have emerged as the leaders to trade for disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson, league executives told Yahoo! Sports on Friday night.
According to sources, 76ers general manager Billy King has targeted Mavericks guard Devin Harris – a favorite of the executive's going back to Harris' college days at Wisconsin – as a primary piece to a potential package with Dallas.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wouldn't deny that he's engaged in trying to make a deal for Iverson but wrote in an email to Yahoo! Sports on Friday night, "We wouldn't trade Devin."
King has been telling teams that he wants a combination of expiring contracts, young players and draft picks for Iverson. Sixers owner, Ed Snider, flatly said Friday night: "We'll trade him."
Several teams in the past few days have expressed interest in the 2001 NBA MVP and four-time league scoring champion, including the Denver Nuggets – who like Boston – discussed those trade possibilities with the 76ers before last June's NBA draft.
The Celtics have a deep roster of young players, including forward Al Jefferson and guards Delonte West, Sebastian Telfair and Rajon Rondo, to send to Philadelphia. Also, they have the weighty veteran contract of Theo Ratliff to help balance Iverson's contract in a deal.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, with a possible package of Ricky Davis and rookie guard Randy Foye out of Villanova, is also believed to be a factor.
What had long been a tumultuous relationship between Iverson and the 76ers reached a breaking point this week.
As the New York Post initially reported on Friday, Iverson asked King for a trade on Tuesday and the G.M. soon thereafter started exploring possible deals around the league. After missing practice on Thursday and a shootaround on Friday with apparent back spasms, Iverson said he was well enough to play in Philadelphia's game against Washington on Friday night.
However, Iverson said 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks told him to stay away from the Wachovia Center and informed Iverson that he wouldn't be traveling to Orlando for a Saturday meeting with the Magic.
After getting banished for two games, Iverson issued a statement through his agent Leon Rose that sounded like he was resigned to the inevitability of a trade. More and more, it sounds like his 11-year career in Philadelphia is coming to a close.
"As hard as it is to admit, a change may be the best thing for everyone," Iverson said. "I hate admitting that because I love the guys on the team and the city of Philadelphia. I truly wanted to retire a 76er."