Allen Iverson spoke about his upcoming free agency with my former colleagues at HOOPSWORLD today:
"I love the fact that I have the opportunity to be wherever I want to be," Iverson said. "At this point, all I want to be is happy. I want to be somewhere where I am happy and somewhere where a team is going to utilize me and get everything out of Allen Iverson."
Now in his 13th season in the league and having been traded twice over, the 33-year-old Iverson will have what any player in the NBA desires: to pick the team of his choosing. And with Iverson often deferring to the likes of Rodney Stuckey, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince, the choice may come to re-locate out of Motown.
"I'm just going to concentrate on what makes my family happy and me happy. That's the biggest thing for me. I want to be somewhere obviously where I can play the style of basketball that I'm accustomed to playing, and help us win basketball games," Iverson continued.
If you read the whole article, you'll see he also tosses out the respectful, "I hope I can end up being a Detroit Pistons for the rest of my career." That's kind of him, but unless he retires this summer, that's almost certainly not going to happen. He also confirms that playing overseas is an option, which is a bit strange since he also claims money "won't be a big issue" when making his decision.
I think it's fair to say his time in Detroit has more or less been a disaster, and while the blame doesn't fall solely on his shoulders, it'll still cost him dearly this summer. It's seems clearer than ever that he needs to have an offense built specifically for his talents (ie, "the style of basketball that I'm accustomed to playing"), but what team would actually do that anymore? Even the worst teams in the league have up-and-coming stars being groomed for leading roles.
I don't even buy the argument that he helps sell tickets -- I blame the empty seats at the Palace on Michigan's economy more than anything else, but the Pistons are 11th in the league in road attendance this year, down from 10th last year. I know I sound like a broken record, but can you see a team giving him the full mid-level?
If you can, don't (just) call me names in the comments -- tell me what teams you could see him playing for next year. I'm curious what the glass-half-full crowd thinks, because there's a big part of me that won't be surprised if he gets insulted at the offers that do trickle in and decides to simply call it a career.