Sixers to cut ties with Iverson


NBA_iverson.jpgUPDATE 10:31 am: It’s official, the second era of Allen Iverson in Philly has come to an end.

Team president Ed Stefanski said Tuesday that Iverson no longer wishes
to be a distraction to the team and his teammates. He says Iverson and
the Sixers have not found consistency as he tries to balance his career
and personal life.

You kind of hoped that Iverson would leave the game as he played it — on his terms and with some fanfare. While this may not be the end of his playing career, it may be if he cannot accept a lesser role with another team next season.

2:06 am: It is not totally unexpected, but it is still a bit shocking — tomorrow Philadelphia will make the announcement that it has cut ties with Allen Iverson and he will not be with the team the rest of this season according to

Iverson joined the Sixers on Dec. 2 as a free agent. He made his debut in his second tour of duty Dec. 7 against the Nuggets, one of his former teams, and provided energy and leadership for a total of 24 games.

In early February, Iverson left the team for personal reasons and missed five games and the NBA All-Star Game, which would have been his 11th consecutive All-Star appearance. On the Monday following the break, he disclosed that it was his four-year-old daughter Messiah that was ill, but they were still unclear of her ailment

Iverson played in three games from Feb. 15 through Feb. 20 before leaving again to be with his family.

It’s a tough spot for everyone involved. Iverson is putting his family first, spending time with a sick child (when not in Charlotte). Fans give lip service to this idea but when a player actually does put his family first he often gets grief for it.

The problem for the Sixers stemmed from clashing goals. Iverson was brought back to get them a few wins and sell some tickets for a decent but stagnant team. He filled that role and scored 14 a game for the Sixers in the 25 games he played. He was terribly inefficient scoring those points, but that was to be expected as Iverson has never been an efficient scorer.

While Iverson was eating minutes and hogging shots, the Sixers have some good young guards in Jrue Holiday and Willie Green who were not getting enough run. Guys that need to learn on the job but sat on the bench. They need to suffer (and bond) with the rest of the youth on the team and have some growing pains on their way to rebuilding. Iverson may have taken some of the pain away, but he stunted the team’s growth. If Philly wants to be better next year their young players need to learn now.

Which meant it was time to cut ties with Iverson. And they did.

Byron Scott doesn’t care about exhausting Lakers in preseason

Byron Scott
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The Warriors use wearable technology to track players and have rested them when the data revealed fatigue. Gregg Popovich is holding relatively healthy Spurs out of practice. Heck, Popovich doesn’t even send himself to every preseason games.

Meanwhile, with the Lakers…

Lakers coach Byron Scott, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN:

“I don’t necessarily care about tired legs in preseason,” Scott said. “I think everything that we’ve done thus far will pay off at the end of the day. You’ve got some guys that might have tired legs and [are] a little worn out, but all the running as far as getting into that physical condition that we need to get into, I think in December and January, it will pay off.

“So I’m not necessarily worried about guys having tired legs in preseason. They’ll just have to kind of fight through that fatigue part of it. And I think mentally it gets them a little stronger anyway.”

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

The Lakers coach has a reputation for demanding a lot of running in the preseason. It’s important in his mind because the Lakers will be better conditioned than other teams down the road.

Players, predictably, aren’t as enthused about it.

Bresnahan quotes just two players, Brandon Bass and D'Angelo Russell, and neither expressed much resistance to Scott’s methods. But I trust Bresnahan to read the team’s pulse.

I also think Scott is right: Fighting through fatigue builds mental toughness. But it also makes players tired, and it’s not the only way to instill toughness. The Warriors are tough. The  Spurs are tough. They didn’t have to run their players into the ground to get that way.

Scott loves to project himself as old-school and anti-analytic. Thankfully for the Lakers, his actual methods aren’t as bad as he conveys. For example, he said the Lakers would take an absurdly low 10-15 3-pointers per game last season. In reality, they hoisted nearly 19 per game, 25th in the league. That might not have been enough for that roster, but at least it wasn’t leaps and bounds below the norm.

So, I’m not convinced Scott is pushing the Lakers as hard as he wants everyone to believe. But he’s  clearly giving them a bigger workload than many teams.

If the Lakers are playing relevant games late in the season, this could come back to bite them. On the bright side, they probably won’t have to worry about that problem.

Tony Parker wants to play six more seasons with Spurs

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Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.

Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.

Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”

That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)

Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.

But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.