EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 20, 2006

Iverson deal makes sense for Denver, not for Boston

On Pro Basketball , Michael Muldoon

Celtics fans can breathe a little easier.

Sure, for the short-term, Allen Iverson would have been a delectable guilty pleasure. The quick-silver guard is as exciting as they come and can light up a scoreboard like few who've ever laced up a pair of sneakers.

But the price tag and the timing couldn't have made less sense for Boston.

Yesterday Denver pulled the trigger and acquired the disgruntled former face of the Philadelphia 76ers for dependable point guard Andre Miller, journeyman big man Joe Smith and two 2007 first-round picks.

This could put the 14-9 Nuggets over the top if Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, who, of course, is now serving a 15-game suspension for his role in the Knicks brawl, can share the ball. They are the two top scorers in the NBA. Anthony is pumping in 31.6 points a game and Iverson is close behind at 31.2.

Depending on which of the thousand and one rumors you believe, Boston would have been giving up something along the lines of Theo Ratliff, Delonte West, Sebastian Telfair and Al Jefferson. Gerald Green was supposedly off limits, but the way Jefferson has been playing since being rumored as trade bait (19.8 points, 11.8 rebounds over the last five games), who do you take, him or Green?

The 10-13 C's are in the middle of a five-game win streak and they may be starting to turn the corner, so why blow things up now?

With or without Iverson, Boston is still about the future, not the present.

Tony Allen and Ryan Gomes are 24, West is 23, Kendrick Perkins and Leon Powe are 22, Telfair and Jefferson are 21, and Green and Rajon Rondo are 20. Why go through the growing pains and then panic with a desperate move for Iverson?

Iverson will turn 32 in June, that's old, especially for someone who's game is all about quickness. Tall guys don't get shorter, but quick guys like the 6-0, 165-pound Iverson get slower. Also, Iverson's practice habits are atrocious, and he has a well deserved reputation as a coach killer, to which Larry Brown, Randy Ayers, Chris Ford, Jim O'Brien and Maurice Cheeks can attest.

He was in the process of tearing apart Philly this year before he was put on the inactive list to avoid a full-scale mutiny. That's not what you want out of a captain who is owed $55.5 million over the next 23/4 seasons. That's begging for a Vin Baker-type mess.

Paul Pierce had encouraged Danny Ainge to make a deal, but he's better off without a gunner like AI. Jerry Stackhouse, Larry Hughes, Keith Van Horn, Glenn Robinson and Chris Webber probably thought they'd click with the Answer, but none did.

Right or wrong, at some point, Ainge is probably going to feel compelled to make a major trade, but this wasn't the move to make.

Michael Muldoon is an Eagle-Tribune sportswriter. E-mail him at mmuldoon@eagletribune.com.


To Philadelphia

Andre Miller, 30, (averaging 13.0 points, 9.1 assists)

Joe Smith, 31, (averaging 5.1 points, 3.6 assists)

2 first-round picks in 2007 (Denver's and Dallas')

To Denver

Allan Iverson, 31, (averaging 31.2 points, 7.3 assists)