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The floodgates are open

Apparently complaining about his lot in life will now be a nightly occurrence for Allen Iverson. After missing seven of eight shots in 17 minutes last night, he told reporters that he'd rather retire than accept a bench role next season.

"I'm having a hard time doing it now," he said after his team's 111-98 loss to the New Jersey Nets. "You think I will try to do it all over again? No way. I wouldn't do that to myself or the team that I am playing for. I don't think I can give everything I have to give in that situation."

[...] "I'm happy with my career and the things I've done in my career," Iverson said. "I feel blessed that I've had the opportunity to accomplish the things that I've accomplished, to do the things that I've done. I would feel fine if I had to (retire)."

I penned some thoughts for FanHouse -- check those out, and then have fun trying to wrap your head around the hypocrisy:

"... it's harder than I thought it would be physically and mentally. When you have a back injury like I had, and you sit out the whole first quarter. You sit out the last three to five minutes of the second quarter, then the whole halftime. Then another quarter after that, it's tough to get going.

[...] He also isn't using his injuries as an excuse, even though he's clearly being hampered by a strained right calf. "If I'm healthy enough to get on the basketball court, then I should be able to get it done. And I'm not. And that's nobody's fault but mine," he said.

Those who feel the Pistons would be better off just severing ties with Iverson right now probably won't be happy to hear this:

Iverson said he is not happy with the Pistons, who acquired him in a trade with the Denver Nuggets in early November. "No, not at all," he said. "I'd be lying if I said I was.

But before you label him a locker room cancer, realize that cancer spreads. Iverson's bitterness, while not conducive to a happy roster, will likely stay contained to his corner of the room. I'm convinced he has little to no influence over the team's younger set, who realize they actually have a place in the team's future plans. As for the veterans, they're more likely to be annoyed than sympathetic to his plight. For the remainder of the season and playoffs, Iverson is merely a necessary nuisance.