Thursday, October 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

He's here; Now what

Since Sunday, those following the 76ers, and maybe just NBA basketball fans, have followed the saga of bringing Allen Iverson back to the Sixers. Now, as of this morning when the Sixers released the news, we know he's agreed to return. The details are: pro-rated of the $1.3 minimum, non-guaranteed, becomes guaranteed on Jan. 10, he will make his "return debut" on Monday against the Denver Nuggets.

He's here; Now what

Allen Iverson is back for another run with the Sixers. He´ll make his debut Monday night at the Wachovia Center. (Ron Cortes / Staff file photo)
Allen Iverson is back for another run with the Sixers. He'll make his debut Monday night at the Wachovia Center. (Ron Cortes / Staff file photo)

Since Sunday, those following the 76ers, and maybe just NBA basketball fans, have followed the saga of bringing Allen Iverson back to the Sixers. Now, as of this morning when the Sixers released the news, we know he's agreed to return. The details are: pro-rated of the $1.3 minimum, non-guaranteed, becomes guaranteed on Jan. 10, he will make his "return debut" on Monday against the Denver Nuggets.

Get your tickets quickly, because for the first time in a while, a Sixers game is hot.

Now the "Will he return?" saga is over and thus begins the "How will this work?" saga.

I'm here in Oklahoma City, preparing to head over to Sixers shootaround at the Ford Center. In about an hour, I'll post exactly what the Sixers have to say about this move, including head coach Eddie Jordan, as well as videos. If you want the insta, in-the-minute updates, follow on Twitter, where things are posted as they happen: Deep Sixer. If you want to chat about this move, what might happen, why it happened, how it might work, tune in for the Live Chat at 2 p.m. Eastern: Sixers Chat.

More coverage
 
Sixerville: Snider says A.I. has opportunity to shine
 
Deep Sixer: Iverson's here; now what?
 
Deep Sixer: Iverson Q&A with Kate Fagan
A.I.'s top Philly moments
 
Sixerville: Jordan, players get ready for Iverson
 
Buy: Special Iverson reprint
 
Special section: Remembering the 2000-01 Sixers
Is bringing Iverson back a good idea?
Yes
 
  4005 (69.3%)
No
 
  1771 (30.7%)
Total votes = 5776

Just got back from the Ford Center. And posted a video of Eddie Jordan talking about Iverson, the possibility of him starting, and the changes in the offense (Jordan said it wouldn't be hard to teach Iverson the "iso" plays, meaning the clear-out, Iverson-to-the-hoop plays.) You can find that video in the Deep Sixer video player below on the right.

Here are some quotes from Jordan: "I told him the rules we had in place and Ed [Stefanski] laid down the conditions as far as rules that everybody abides by. And I told the team, we all have flexibility in our personalities, some guys do this, some guys do that, some guys listen to their music loud, some softly, some walk the straight and narrow, some guys waver. But as long as you're in the border of that road we’re going, it’s fine. But once you break that border, there are fines to be paid and consequences."

 

More from Jordan: "We are looking at a couple of options and obviously I would like for him to start. When I make that decision, I’l tell the team first … I’m looking to see if he can fit into our starting lineup, but it’s not etched in stone ... I’d like to compare him to Brett Favre, a guy who people think is too old to play and he’s almost having an MVP year, off the top of my head, when I woke up this morning and said, ‘Maybe he can be that.’ It’s not a big maybe, I think he can be that."
 
Both Andre Iguodala and Willie Green said they've spoken on the phone with Iverson and they think it's the right move.
 
From Green: "I think he deserves to start, especially coming back to a team he’s put blood, sweat, tears into and an organization that believes in him. It’s only right for him to come back to Philadelphia and continue his career. I’m happy for him as a basketball player, as a teammate, as a person. Philadelphia is definitely true to his heart."
 
Iguodala said he thinks he's game will "hopefully get better" with Iverson.
 
From Iguodala: "When you get off to a slow start like that you see it’s not happening the way you planned it out. Whether a big change or a small change will help it, that’s what you try to do ... He won’t try to change anyone’s game up too much. He realizes he can come in and help us out, whether it’s scoring or drawing attention … I think he just wants to come in and help us any way possible."

 

Maybe, at least for today, we should just revel in knowing one of the best players in franchise history is returning. But I'm assuming there are some die-hard Sixers fans out there who want to know how this might fit in. Here are some gathered insights:

1.) The only way this deal was going to go down was as non-guaranteed because the Sixers want to keep control of the situaiton. This is smart because now they're getting the best available player without strapping themselves to any of the potential drama (just being real here). Check out the quote from Jordan about laying down conditions.

2.) Right now, rookie Jrue Holiday is starting, but that won't last (of course!). He's going to be a very, very good player, but he won't be seeing the kind of minutes he's been seeing since Lou Williams broke his jaw. Look for him to play about 15 minutes a game now. Does that stall his progress or is playing 30 minutes a game too much right now for a 19 year old?  That's debatable. As long as he keeps those 15 minutes and gets in every game, he should be making progress without carrying an overwhelming burden.

Jordan said Holiday was a "tough-minded" kid who will be OK, he'll be fine. Jordan said he hasn't yet talked to Holiday about it.

3.) Iguodala. Hmmmm. My vibe is he's OK with this move to bring Iverson back, if only because it's been such a rough start to this season and obviously they need something, they're almost dull to the losing at this point.

For the most part, I think you're going to hear today from a team that's excited Allen Iverson is back, because they've fallen to irrelevant in this city -- and in the NBA -- and for as long as this lasts, they're back on the map.

4.) As for the on-court play, the read-and-react offense of Eddie Jordan, I think that's obviously going to take a backseat for now. It's too late for Iverson to learn the offense in-depth and, really, do we want him to? At this point, he's back as a Sixer, the team is 5-13, I think the idea is to put the ball in his hands and see what he can still do.

Jordan said this was the Sixers "seizing the moment."

Don't forget the Live Chat at 2 p.m.

--Kate

About this blog

Keith Pompey is in his first season covering the Sixers for The Inquirer after covering the Temple men’s basketball team for the past three years and Temple football the past two seasons.

Marc Narducci has served in a variety of roles with the Inquirer since beginning in 1983. He has covered the 76ers as a backup and a beat writer. In addition, Narducci has covered everything from the Super Bowl to the World Series and a lot in between.

Narducci also has a true passion for South Jersey scholastic sports, which he has covered for many years.

Keith Pompey Inquirer Staff Writer
Marc Narducci Inquirer Columnist
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