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December 8, 2009
On the Beat
Iverson Debuts for 76ers

by John Perrotto

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Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson ended his brief retirement Monday night with 11 points, six assists and five rebounds in 37:34 of a 93-83 loss to the Nuggets.

Iverson walked out on the Memphis Grizzles after three games this season because of what were termed personal reasons. He was upset that he was not starting, a factor that also caused him to be miserable last season with the Pistons.

Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said he did not begrudge Iverson for signing with the 76ers.

“I'm ecstatic,” Heisley said. “I think having Allen in the NBA is good for the league. I don't wish him anything but the best. For various reasons, it just didn't work out between us. He got injured in training camp and he wanted to start as soon as possible. When that didn't happen, it spiraled out of control. But we didn't run him away. It wasn't (coach) Lionel Hollins' fault. It wasn't Allen's fault. It was circumstances.”

Iverson will face the Pistons on Wednesday night but his old teammates say they have no ill feelings toward him.

“I'm one of his biggest supporters and fans,” guard Will Bynum said. “Growing up, he was one of the guys I patterned my game after and looked up to. I'm really happy for him, being in a better situation than he's been in (recently). He really deserves it and I'm eager to play against him.”

Iverson actually helped the Pistons in the long run as his expiring contract gave them the salary-cap relief necessary to sign free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva in the offseason.

Harrington on the Move?

The New York Knicks figure to begin a massive youth movement as the season progresses and great roster turnover in the offseason as they will have plenty of salary cap room to go after players in a star-studded free agent class.

One of the Knicks who figures to get his playing time cut and could be traded sometime this season is power forward Al Harrington. Though the Knicks are 6-15 and headed nowhere, Harrington is adamant that he wants to stay in New York for the long haul and admits recent rumors that he might traded to the Bulls for Tyrus Thomas bother him.

Harrington is a slow-footer player who doesn’t fit coach Mike D’Antoni’s fast style of play that has the Knicks ranked fourth in the NBA with a 95.9 pace factor. The Knicks also have a ready-made replacement for Harrington in rookie Jordan Hill, their first-round draft pick.

However, Harrington feels a strong allegiance to the Knicks as he was a big fan while growing up in New Jersey. Harrington also believes Knicks president Donnie Walsh has loyalty to him as they were together with the Paces.

“Until he tells me, I don't think anything is serious,” Harrington said of the potential trade talk. “He wouldn't trade me before he gave me a heads-up. I love being a Knick. I want to be part of this when it's turned around. I’m not trying to go somewhere else.”

Nelson Still Under the Weather

Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson missed Monday night’s 104-88 loss to the Thunder at Oklahoma City and will sit out the five-game road trip as he is not completely recovered from a bout with pneumonia. Nelson returned to the bench for two home games last week after missing the previous five games.

The Warriors players certainly understand why Nelson is skipping the trip.

“Pneumonia, that's something serious,” guard Monta Ellis told The Oakland Tribune. “It's different from swine flu, the flu or a cold. You can die from pneumonia.”

Nelson is 69 years old and said team doctors advised him not to go on such a long trip.

“The last thing you want is a setback,” Nelson said. “I have to take the advice from the guys who know more than I do.”

While assistant coach Keith Smart is running the team, the wins and losses go on Nelson’s record. That is significant because Nelson is 18 victories away from Lenny Wilkens’ NBA career record of 1,332.

"World" Champions?

The Boston Celtics refer to themselves as world champions for winning the 2007-08 NBA crown. That rankles San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

“Arrogant, don't you think?” Popovich said. “We were never world champions. We were NBA champions. I don't remember playing anybody from another country and declaring victory in the world. NBA champions is accurate and what else do you want to be besides accurate and truthful in what you do? "World champions sends the wrong message. I don't know if it's a marketing thing, stubbornness, arrogance or hubris. I was very thrilled to be a part of an NBA championship team.”

John Perrotto is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact John by clicking here or click here to see John's other articles.

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<< Previous Article
How Good is John Wall? (12/08)
<< Previous Column
On the Beat (12/04)
Next Column >>
On the Beat (12/11)
Next Article >>
The Biggest Aberration... (12/09)

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