Whether he stays retired or not remains to be seen. However, if Allen Iverson has indeed called it a career then his final three games will have been played with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Iverson’s short stint with the Grizzlies was rocky. He was not happy with coming off the bench, then left the team after three games because of what was termed personal reasons.
Yet the Grizzlies say they hold no animosity toward Iverson and were surprised that he has decided to end his 13-year career.
“He inspired a lot of young fellas like myself,” guard O.J. Mayo said. “I wish he would have gone out on a higher note. A lot of us grew up watching him. I’m glad we had the chance to play with him. He’ll go out a Grizzly.”
“He can still play,” forward Zach Randolph said. “I feel like he’s going out on top as far as playing. He loves to play. He probably got frustrated with the process.”
Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins agreed with Randolph’s assessment.
“It has a lot to do with the mental part of the game,” Hollins said. “The mental part is what makes you do the physical part.”
Iverson apparently holds no grudge toward the Grizzles either, as he made special mention of them in the statement announcing his retirement.
“I’d like to give a special thanks to the people of Memphis,” Iverson said. “I never played a home game for your beloved Grizzlies, but I want you to know how much I appreciate the opportunity given me by a great owner in Michael Heisley, and the support of the city. I wish the Memphis Grizzlies’ organization all of the success that the game has to offer.”
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have found a good home for the 3,000 replica Iverson jerseys they had planned to hand out as a promotion for the Dec. 4 game against the Mavericks at the FedEx Forum. With the help of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program, the jerseys will shipped to impoverished children in Tanzania, homeland of Grizzlies rookie center Hasheem Thabeet.
Carlisle Juggles Playing Time
Having to manage playing time for two aging superstars might be a challenge for most coaches. However, the Mavericks’ Rick Carlisle has found a way to get forward Dirk Nowitzki and guard Jason Kidd on the floor as much as possible this season without burning them out.
Carlisle tries to keep one of the two on the floor at all times. It is especially important this season because the Mavericks had quite a bit of off-season roster turnover and have had their share of injuries since the season started.
Carlisle usually gives Nowitzki a breather about seven minutes into the games and guard Jason Terry checks in to join Kidd in the backcourt. When Nowitzki returns, Kidd usually gets a break. Carlisle does this twice in first half so both Nowitzki and Kidd are ready to log as many minutes as possible in the second half.
“Dirk’s willing to do anything,” Carlisle said. “The challenging part for us is when he’s not on the floor. I’d like to get him enough rest, but as we know, his endurance is second to none.”
Nowitzki is first on the team with an average of 38.2 minutes a game and Kidd is second with 35.2.
“We all know that when I sit out too long, I get a little stiff, and (Carlisle’s substitution pattern) gets me in and out quicker,” Nowitzki said. “Plus, it lets (Terry) in the game with J-Kidd for a while and they can get a nice little rhythm going.”
Beasley Wants More Boards
Points are not Heat forward Michael Beasley’s favorite statistic. Instead, the first thing he looks for on the stat sheet at the end of each game is rebounds.
So while Beasley is averaging a solid 14.3 points a game in his first season as a starter, he is not so happy about his 6.8 rebounding average. He has an 8.1 offensive rebounding percentage and 17.9 defensive rebounding percentage.
“I feel like anything less than nine or 10 rebounds is unacceptable,” Beasley said.
However, he believes he can improve on the boards.
“I think I'm a good jumper,” Beasley said. “I think I'm quicker off my feet than most guys. That allows me to get rebounds. I've got to work a tad bit harder because it's bigger, stronger guys who are beating me to rebounds. Once you turn that switch on, once I tell myself rebounding is the focus point, it's a cakewalk.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra thinks it only a matter of time before the 6-foot-9, 235-pound Beasley, who is in just his second NBA season, becomes a force on the boards.
“He's a naturally gifted rebounder,” Spoelstra said. “(But) it's a different level of athletic (talent) and physicality he's learning how to deal with. When he puts his mind to it and when he's aggressive, when he shows and uses his athleticism, he can get some of those rebounds in traffic.
Move to Brooklyn a Step Closer for Nets
The Nets’ proposed move from New Jersey to Brooklyn took a big step forward earlier this week when the New York State Court of Appeals voted 6-1 to uphold the state’s right to use eminent domain to remove residents and businesses that held out and tried to remain at the Atlantic Yards site. The project involves an arena for the Nets, which officials are hoping opens in time for the start of the 2011-12 season.
“Once again the courts have made it clear that this project represents a significant public benefit for the people of Brooklyn and the entire city,” said Nets owner Bruce Ratner, who is in the process of selling a controlling interest in the team to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. “Our commitment to the entire project is as strong today as when we started six years ago.”
John Perrotto is an author of Basketball Prospectus.
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