BOSTON - Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson reportedly asked to be traded this week. But will he end up in Boston, the city he was rumored to be headed to over the summer?
Celtics coach Doc Rivers should've been tipped off by the waves of phone calls he received yesterday.
"I heard about it when I showed up here today," he said before the Suns defeated the Celtics, 116-111, last night in front of an announced crowd of 18,624 at TD Banknorth Garden. "I can't say much anyway."
General manager Danny Ainge also remained mum on the subject.
"I can't comment," he said after the game.
Iverson, an 11-year veteran, is second in the NBA in scoring at 31.2 points per game.
The 76ers sent Iverson home before last night's game against the Wizards.
"As hard as it is to admit, a change may be the best thing for everyone," Iverson said in an ESPN report. "I hate admitting that because I love the guys on the team and the city of Philadelphia. I truly wanted to retire a 76er."
The Celtics brass didn't comment, but team captain Paul Pierce expressed his support for the possible acquisition.
"When (the rumors) were going on in the summer, I told you how I felt. It'd be great to get him," he said before scoring a game-high 36 points in the loss. "I've got a lot of respect for his game, and we've had a lot of respect over the years going against each other."
Cousy: Point position 'going by the boards'
Phoenix Suns guard Raja Bell sat at his locker drinking a pregame cup of coffee.
The seventh-year player out of Florida International took a long sip when asked on Thursday's 161-157 double-overtime win over the Nets.
Looking back on it, Bell said he didn't mind fouling out in the fourth quarter. It gave him a chance to watch Steve Nash pour in 42 points and 13 assists. The back-to-back MVP could be on the way to the best statistical season - 21.0 points and 11.7 assists per game - of his career.
"It's pretty amazing to watch," said Bell, who played two years at Boston University before transferring to FIU. "He's always under control. He isn't the fastest guy in the world, he doesn't jump the highest, but he's always able to put the defense in a position he wants it to be in, as opposed to the defense dictating what it wants to do."
In a league full of gunners and tweeners, players like Nash are rarer commodity these days than PlayStation 3. Boston, a team in dire need of a playmaker - see Iverson, Allen - could learn something from the dynamic Nash.
"Some people can pass, some people can shoot, he can do a little bit of both," Celtics Hall of Fame point guard Bob Cousy said by phone yesterday.
Nash, San Antonio's Tony Parker and New Jersey's Jason Kidd made Couz's short list of true point guards. He called Nash the "total package," but hesitated to compare Nash to a younger version of himself.
"I think most exceptional athletes develop their own style," Cousy said.
It's clear, however, that Cousy appreciates Nash's craft. If only there were more like him.
"There are 30 teams in the league and only three or four point guards," Cousy said. "I think the point guard position is going by the boards. There's a crying need for them. It's akin to sending out a football team without a quarterback."
Sebastian Telfair and Rajon Rondo, the Celtics' two young point guards, both watched Nash dismantle the Nets Thursday. Last night, Nash taught them both a hard lesson in person.
"He's always in attack mode," Telfair said of Nash, who ended up 14 assists and 16 points, including a 17-foot jumper that put Phoenix ahead 112-108 with a minute left in the game.
"For our young guards, it's probably not bad sitting there watching that game two or three times just to see how patient (Nash) is," said Rivers, a former point guard himself, "how he sets things up. ... His vision is just amazing."
If the Cousy-era Celtics ever copyrighted their uptempo brand of ball, they'd be able to sue the Suns. It may not be identical (after all, the Suns don't have Bill Russell), but Phoenix's style is at least derivative of Boston's championship teams of the 1950s and 60s.
"I've seen highlight tapes," Nash said. "The fast break was born from that."
Sadly, Cousy said, the style is dying.
"I don't relate at all to walking the ball up the floor," he said. "I think it's the coaches; it's either their ego or their insecurity."
Whether it's the players, the coaches or just the era itself, there are few coaches, and even fewer players, who can grasp the uptempo offense.
Fortunately for NBA fans, Nash is one of them. So if you can, try and watch a replay of Thursday night's sublime performance against the Nets.
"That was a pretty impressive display," Bell said. "Allen Iverson was the only other guy I've played with who could carry a team like that."
Cross your fingers, Celtics fans.