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One of the worst parts about being a professional sports fan is watching a former great player in the later part of his career struggle. When I say struggle, I mean struggle to find his old step, his old skill, his spot on the team, etc. This is what has inspired this post. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the situation for AI isn't as bad as it seems. Here is an explanation why.

Yeah, AI is coming off his worst statistical career, but he is an incredible athlete and can still make an impact on a team this year. It has already been reported that AI isn't going to the Knicks, but the Bobcats, Heat, Clippers, and Grizzlies are still on the table. However, AI's biggest offer is coming from Olympiacos in Greece for $10million over 2 years.

I'm all for AI going to Greece and joining Josh Childress, Linas Kleiza, and most recently, Von Wafer, but it won't be the same for AI as it is over here. The life of a Euroleague player is far from the royal treatment players get in the US, but if AI is looking for the money, Greece is the way to go. He'll most likely get a great house, a private car, driver, chef, etc. all paid for by Olympiacos, but the coaching will be much different than it is in the NBA. They will most likely run few plays for Iverson, and will look for Iverson to be a distributor first. That will definitely be a problem for AI's scorer's mentality. I think that the biggest problem for AI is his perception of the competition. AI believes that he can play at the highest level for a few more years. Is it really about the money for him now? The Euro ball will be a good experience, but Iverson believes he can help any NBA team he signs with compete for a championship. If I were Iverson, taking a Euro contract would be basically conceding that my career in the NBA is over and that I'm settling for second best. Not going to fly with AI (rhyme not intended). 

I think that AI's best opportunity is in Miami. They are a mid-level team in the East and have a core of young talent. The one thing that is preventing the Heat from pulling the trigger is salary cap. AI would cause the Heat to incur a harsher luxury tax penalty than they are currently paying. The only other way to avoid this would be to start cutting players. Udonis Haslem and his $7.1 million would probably be the first to go and then down the line from there. From a basketball standpoint, AI would give them a boost in the back court. It would allow Mario Chalmers one more year to develop into a solid point guard, and also allow Quentin Richardson to play with another guy who would open up space for Richardson to shoot. AI and D-Wade would be a nightmare for teams to match up against, and if Jermaine O'Neal could put together anything resembling a decent season, the Heat might be in good shape. I think it is something the Heat front office should seriously consider.

Before I leave, I just wanted to repost the "Stephon Marbury Barbie Girl" video because it is an instant classic.

Izzy

 





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