Don’t look now, but tomorrow’s matchup between the Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets might be lacking some star quality.
Allen Iverson is likely to miss the game due to back problems and now Benjamin Hochman is reporting that Carmelo Anthony is probably going to be in Denver. Unfortunately, the game is in Detroit. The reason for Melo’s return to Denver has been cited as personal. That is pretty vague so the imagination starts running, but Rex Chapman informed Hochman that the personal matter is not a legal matter. It is never good to hear that a player has to leave his team and I hope that whatever the issue is comes to a swift and happy resolution.
While Melo’s situation gets your attention, it is not quite as interesting as the story behind Allen Iverson’s absence. AI left the Pistons game versus New Orleans after straining his back. He has been checked out and apparently is alright however, he claims he is not healthy enough to play and is seeking additional medical assistance.
Chris McCosky from the Detroit News thinks that Iverson’s back problem has been exacerbated by finding out that he is going to be coming off the bench instead of Rip Hamilton. McCosky reports that AI is healthy enough to play tomorrow against Denver as an MRI on his back was clean, but his absence is because he needs time to “celar his head.”
I am a big AI fan, I think he is an incredible athlete and can be one of the most exciting players to watch in the entire NBA. Sadly, his I-just-want-to-win routine that he has been selling in Denver and now in Detroit is starting to show some significant holes.
Iverson has made some sacrifices in Detroit. He is making what are the ultimate sacrifices in his mind as he is playing fewer minutes and taking fewer shots. The problem is what he believes is required to win basketball games is not what is best for the team. AI thinks basketball games are won by him being on the floor for 42 or more minutes a night with the ball in his hands. While many players who get older become not only content, but desperate to fill any role they can on a contending team to win a title AI believes that a contending team has to fill the role of providing four other players to be on the floor with him.
When the team is losing as the Pistons had been before he hurt his back the answer for how to turn things around in AI’s mind is not to bring him off the bench further marginalizing him, but to leave him on the court longer and give him a larger role.
The Pistons had lost eight straight with AI. Since he hurt his back they have won two straight pulling out games at Orlando and at Boston. I think the jig is up. I think the Pistons are better off without AI and I think AI would be better off with a team that needs him. We all know the real reason why Joe Dumars traded for Iverson was for his expiring contract and not his talent. With today being the final day to waive a player and allow that player to be eligible to play for another team in the playoffs I think it is best for all involved for AI to be bought out and set free.
Where would he go? I have no idea, but if the Celtics are interested in Stephon Marbury someone is going to be interested in AI.