There’s been a ton of drama surrounding Allen Iverson over the past week or so, ranging from issues with his role on the Grizzlies and playing time, to possible problems at home which have led to A.I. taking an “indefinite” leave of absence from the team.
And now this morning, the Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting that all of the stress may be pushing A.I. into retirement:
Allen Iverson is contemplating retirement if he doesn’t rejoin the Grizzlies, according to a source with knowledge of the veteran guard’s situation.
Allen Iverson has yet to play a game at home with the Griz, and now is so upset at coming off the bench he might retire, according to a source.
Iverson left the team Saturday after receiving permission from Griz owner Michael Heisley to deal with a personal matter. The stress associated with a family issue plus Iverson’s frustration over playing a reserve role might spell the end of his 14-year NBA career, according to the source.
Heisley said he’s not been given any indication that Iverson might be leaning towards retirement, and still is holding out hope that the 10-time All-Star will return to Memphis.
“I just think if he was going to retire, he’d tell me first,” Heisley said. “I expect him to come back. If he does retire, I’ll be tremendously disappointed. I feel bad because I don’t think that’s the way he should go out.”
Allen’s situation is such that he really only has two choices:
1) Stick with the Grizzlies and try to make it work (or sink the team further in the process).
At this point, with the general perception that he’s shadow of his former self on the floor, and a serious locker room problem off it, there’s pretty much no way a team trades for him this season. All of this nonsense has most likely destroyed his general appeal, so a crappy team dealing for him in the hopes of selling tickets is pretty much out the window. And obviously, no team with good chemistry and a shot at the playoffs and beyond is going to take a chance adding a volatile Iverson to the mix.
The most frustrating aspect of all of this though is that if Allen had just showed the least bit of patience, common sense would have eventually prevailed. Is Mike Conley better than A.I.? Of course not. Would Iverson have found himself closing out games (and most likely starting) within a few weeks? Almost certainly. Lionel Hollins wasn’t about to let it look like he was afraid of Allen or letting Allen run the show – of course he was going to try and make the point that he’s the boss of this team. Eventually though it would have been obvious to everyone that the Grizzlies were better off with Allen on the court during crunch time. The same exact situation has already played out in Portland, where Andre Miller has moved ahead of Steve Blake into the starting rotation. A.I. just had to suck it up for a little while.
Sadly though, he couldn’t bring himself to do it and started shooting off about his role on the team after his very first game, setting this whole thing in motion towards its inevitable, destructive end. The scenario for A.I. fans that saw Allen running with a young, exciting Grizzlies team and then parlaying his one-year contract into something bigger and better never had a chance.
Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal