Saturday, July 4, 2015

Iverson and Brown together again in N.C.? Stay tuned

Sixers coach Larry Brown and Allen Iverson confer during a 1999 game. Could they be reunited in Charlotte?
Sixers coach Larry Brown and Allen Iverson confer during a 1999 game. Could they be reunited in Charlotte? JERRY LODRIGUSS / File
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Allen Iverson needs a team, and Larry Brown needs a scorer.

Just think, they could reunite and talk about practice.

Seven years after his famous rant during a feud with Brown over missing practice with the 76ers, Iverson is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Brown is coaching the low-scoring Bobcats, and Iverson recently was spotted in Charlotte.

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It's fueled speculation that Iverson, who had a difficult season in Detroit after his November trade from Denver, could be paired with Brown again.

"I love Allen," Brown said yesterday. "Everybody documents our issues, but think of the body of work when he played for me. Pretty incredible. And I know he has a big chip on his shoulder now. He told me he'd been to Charlotte."

Brown just isn't so sure Iverson as a Bobcat would be a good fit for either side.

For one, Iverson would have to play for a lot less than the nearly $22 million he made last season, and the Bobcats would have to clear salary-cap space to sign him. Iverson, who turns 34 tomorrow, would also have to adjust to a lesser role - something he struggled to accept with the Pistons.

And would Iverson want to join a team that hasn't won more than 35 games in a season?

"I want him go to where he knows he can win," Brown said. "I think from my standpoint, I don't know if we're ready to win at the level I think a kid at his age, what he's done, should have. I want to see him go where he could win a championship."

But Iverson's agent, Leon Rose, said his client would be willing to play for Brown again.

"A.I. has the utmost respect for Coach Brown as both a person and coach," Rose said in an e-mail. "I believe he would definitely be interested in playing for him again. Seeing firsthand Coach Brown's ability to build a culture and a team that plays the right way, he knows Charlotte will be a team to contend with as they continue to add pieces.

"I'm sure at the appropriate time, these things will be discussed."

Iverson's best stretch of his career came under Brown, when he was voted the league's most valuable player and helped the Sixers reach the NBA Finals in 2001.

But Brown often bristled at his practice habits. It led to Iverson's repeating the phrase we're talking about practice countless times after the Sixers were eliminated from the 2002 playoffs.

"He was telling me how he made some mistakes," Brown said. "I said, 'Wait a second, you've scored 30,000 points or so in our league.' I don't think anybody his size has done what he's done. So I told him to not even worry about that."

The Bobcats, who have to decide whether to re-sign restricted free-agent point guard Raymond Felton, ranked last in the NBA in scoring last season.

Enter Iverson?

"You'll have to ask Allen about me," Brown said. "But I think he knows that I know how to use him and what to expect. There are no surprises with me and him. I just know that his body of work is pretty incredible. Even though there are things that went on during our careers, the work he did was phenomenal.

"He wants to win, he competes every night, he plays hurt. But I want to see it end the right way for him."

Associated Press
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