No Goodbye to A.I.?

By Eric Williams

I’m going on record right now (again) to say that Philadelphia 76ers general manager, Billy King, is one of the most clueless GM’s in, not only the NBA, but in all of professional sports.

Since the 2005-06 season ended nearly two months ago, it has been an almost foregone conclusion that the Sixers were going to trade resident superstar, Allen Iverson, in an effort to speed up the “rebuilding” process that has supposedly, already begun.

Now, after hearing Iverson’s name mentioned all summer long in various rumored trade scenarios, King comes out and says that he has taken Iverson’s name off the trading block and expects the former MVP and perennial All-Star to be with the team at the start of training camp.

“I’ve pretty much said that I expect him to be with us at the start of training camp,” King told The Philadelphia Inquirer in a story posted on its Web site. “Our conversations with other teams at this point going forward do not include him.”


Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t get King’s logic. I know Iverson has said that he wants to be a Sixers for life, but, really, how happy can he really be hearing his name mentioned in connection with possible trades all summer only to find out that he’s going to come back to the same mediocre mess that he has had to deal with for the majority of his career. I’m sure he was almost expecting – and looking forward to – getting traded, not that he would ever come out and say it publicly.

At this point, the Sixers need to trade Iverson if they are ever going to get any better – and for King to botch the opportunity to move Iverson, no matter how small, is a travesty that is going to set the Sixers back at least another three seasons.
My main reason for wanting the Sixers to trade Iverson is the fact that the 76ers won’t be any closer to winning anything of significance with Iverson than they would be without him. Sure, they will win a few more games – and Iverson’s electric persona is always good for attendance – especially on the road – but in the end, this team is as mediocre as they come.
Once again, even Iverson, has to be confused at this point and probably wants out more than he will ever let on.

“I want to be a Sixer, I have said that since Day 1,” Iverson said. “But if I am not wanted, then I definitely don’t want to be a Sixer and I am willing to start my career all over.”

Incredibly, Iverson, who is coming off one of his best seasons, averaging a career-high 33 points in 72 games, didn’t command the trade value that the Sixers thought they could obtain for one of the league’s greatest scorers ever.

Which brings me to the point of just what King should have done to move Iverson. First of all, I don’t think King should just give Iverson away for a bag of trinkets and a couple of warm bodies. However, if King could have suckered the Celtics into giving up one or two of their young players – not named Delonte West – then that would have been a coup in my mind. Say, some combination of Tony Allen and Al Jefferson and maybe a draft pick.

The point is, in order for the Sixers to ever return to their former prominence, then King and the Sixers need to take a step backwards this season in order to take two or three forward in the future.

As currently composed, with the huge contracts owed to Iverson and Chris Webber over the next few seasons, the Sixers will never be able to afford to field a competitive team anyway. So, why not move Iverson and hand over the reins of the franchise to Andre Iguoadala and possibly a couple of other young players?

It’s not like the Sixers have anything to lose now do they?

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