Iverson And The 76ers: A Big Maybe

Sixers officials have discussed the possibility of signing Allen Iverson, but his return to Philadelphia is far from a sure thing. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The 76ers, knowing they will be without the injured Lou Williams for two months, have internally discussed the possibility of bringing back Allen Iverson.

But, as of Saturday afternoon, the process had not advanced beyond that point.

A FOXSports.com report indicated that the situation could escalate early next week.

A source familiar with the Sixers' situation said president/general manager Ed Stefanski has been considering the plusses and minuses of adding Iverson, but that he has not reached out to Leon Rose, Iverson's agent, or to Gary Moore, Iverson's personal manager. The source said that Rose, one of the most respected and successful agents representing NBA players, has contacted the Sixers, basically trying to find out whether his client would be a good fit.


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At the same time, Stefanski has not reached out to Peter Luukko, the Comcast-Spectacor president/chief operating officer, or to chairman Ed Snider. The source said that, while coach Eddie Jordan could be interested in a player of Iverson's stature and talent, there has not been a meeting scheduled between Jordan and Iverson.

There is, however, a belief that the Sixers will reach a reasonably quick decision. They do not want this situation to linger. They are already concered that ''Iverson back to the Sixers'' is taking on a life of its own.

Stefanski and his personnel staff have been considering various other free agents, including Antonio Daniels and Gabe Pruiitt; it goes without saying that Iverson is the most talented of the group, but that he also comes with the most baggage. Since leaving the Sixers, Iverson has played with Denver, Detroit and Memphis. The Nuggets improved dranatically when they acquired Chauncey Billups from the Pistons for Iverson; the Pistons finally sent Iverson home after he complained about coming off the bench, and the Grizzlies reached a settlement on Iverson's one-year contract after he appeared in just three games this season.

The major aspect of Stefanski's decision-making process has to do with the absence of Williams, who is recovering from a broken jaw bone suffered Tuesday night in a loss in Washington; the Sixers were excited with Williams' development and his ability to make plays, for himself and for others. Without him in Friday night's loss to Atlanta, they often appeared rudderless down the stretch. They believe rookie Jrue Holiday, given time, will become the player they projected when they made him the No. 17 pick in the June draft, but they don't believe he's immediately ready for prime time.

The question is, whether Iverson could help them in that regard or whether his presence would simply further delay Holiday's progress. The source said that any decision would not be based on whether Iverson would sell tickets -- the Sixers are currently 29th (next-to-last) in attendance. There is a belief among management that Iverson would sell tickets for a short period, but that there would not be a substantial lasting effect.