Good reasons for AI acquisition

August 10, 2009
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pacersI’ve heard from a lot readers about the possibility of the Indiana Pacers acquiring guard Allen Iverson. And the topic got quite a bit of banter on the market’s two leading sports talk radio shows Friday. Many readers told me how crazy I was to print such drivel. Perhaps.

But it’s essential to understand that putting together an NBA roster is not like choosing sides down at the playground or neighborhood YMCA. Yes, it’s always about winning, but fans sometimes lose sight of the fact that these teams are for-profit entertainment ventures. And if you’re not entertaining and making money, you can’t, in the end, afford to acquire the players you need to win.

NBA presidents, general managers and heads of basketball operations are faced with the daunting task of putting together a team that could win (because that’s never guaranteed) and one that will catch the fancy of the local fans and media. Rest assured, creating buzz—and building a team that sells—is always on team executives’ minds.

That brings us back to Iverson. I know, I know, he’ll steam minutes from Brandon Rush; he can no longer play the point guard and if he’s on the court with T.J. Ford, that causes all kinds of defensive mismatches. And lets not forget Iverson’s temperament. How do you assure he doesn’t ruin the team’s carefully rebuilt public image? I don’t have the answer to those questions.

But I do know this. Twenty of 69 Conseco Fieldhouse suites sit unsold. Pre-season ticket sales aren’t exactly going through the roof with the addition of Earl Watson. The Pacers were one of the top five money-losing teams in the NBA last year. A 2008 TNS poll showed 57.5 percent of central Indiana residents call the Colts their favorite professional sports franchise, while 6.6 percent call the Pacers their favorite. TNS’ scientifically conducted polls are the types of surveys sponsors pay attention to. In fact, they often subscribe to them. The poll has a 6 percent error rate.

It’s fair to say Pacers co-owner Herb Simon and President Jim Morris have moved heaven and earth to try to improve this team and the good it does for the community.

Still, the Pacers are eager to boost their fortunes. Just how eager? I’m not sure anyone outside the blue and gold’s most inner circle can answer. But the acquisition of Iverson would give you some idea. It's high-risk, and I believe has the potential for a high pay-off.

Yes, it appears desperate. But if the Pacers acquire Iverson, and come out of the gates fast, that would create the kind of interest in the team the Pacers desperately need. And suddenly, the move would be lauded as the kind of genius that would even make Donnie Walsh smile.
  • Allen Iverson recently turned 29. If you call yourself a true Pacer fan, ponder what Reggie Miller did for this town and this franchise after he turned 29.
    Iverson is a TEN time NBA all-star. He would clearly make this team better. It is widely rumored he would accept the veteran minimum of around 1.3M for the season, if the contract contains attainable incentives.
    No one, has ever questioned Iverson's toughness, or his ability to take the ball to the rim.
    Do not judge a book by its cover.
  • I don't think Pacers fans will welcome AI.
  • Actually Iverson just turned 34, not bad! Miller scored over 5000 points after 34. Iverson can still be a productive and entertaining player.
  • I agree 1000% with Patrick. Sign him.
  • Once again, no facts, no sources, no reporting. This is just bar room banter used to get a reaction out of readers. The Score is becoming Kravits Lite....
  • This is the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard. Of course you nor your 1070thefan buddies remember what happened here when AI called Indianapolis and Indiana in general, a bunch of racists. This was also after Iverson had spit on the MSA floor. Since your buddies weren't even living here in town at the time, they wouldn't remember the humongous uproar that happened back in the day. People killed AI on the radio shows, I can't believe no one has brought that up. What should I expect from people that aren't even from around here...this seems like a scenario created by Kent Sterling(aka Rancor B Gone).
  • Not sure, who you are referring to, Tom. I've lived here for going on 43 years, and attended my first Pacers game in 1972. But we're not back in the day anymore, and the Pacers have some pressing issues to address today. Thanks, as always, for reading.
  • No more gangster wanna be's. Ever. That's just what this young team doesn't need, a prima donna former felon who doesn't want to practice. Practice? I didn't buy Pacers tickets to see a thug like Iverson. Next.
  • Has anyone in the Pacers organization, namely Larry Bird, indicated an interest in AI? If not, why are we wasting valuable web space on speculation and fantasy?
  • That's the beautiful thing about Web space, it's infinite. Last time I saw LB talk about Iverson, he certainly didn't dismiss the possibility out of hand.
  • Sorry Anthony...could not disagree with you, Patrick (he would clearly make this team better? Did he make Detroit better last year? No, he made them much, much worse.), or anyone that wants Iverson to come he a great individual player, does he play hard?...yes. Is he even remotely the kind of player we want here...absolutely not. This is a guy who has had so many chances to prove himself, make teams better, to learn from great coaches like Larry Brown, George Karl, both of whom tired of his act. He is one of the most talented players to ever play, but he is an incredibly selfish player, he has never understood that basketball is a team game, even in the NBA. He made one finals in Philly playing for maybe the best coach in the world surrounded by players acquired to mesh with his selfish one on one act, he went to Denver to play with didn't work...Denver trades for Chauncey, a player not as gifted, but a real point guard (I laughed out loud at your comment that Iverson can't play point guard anymore...he never did play point guard...point guards actually pass the ball to teammates when they are open, run the offense, etc...for a guy that saw his first game Pacer game in 1972, you never learned anything from any of the basketball you watched if you ever considered Allan Iverson a point guard...he was just a short guy that had the ball all the time), Denver gets much better (Westen Conference Finals), Detroit gives up Chauncey, gets Iverson, plummets immediately, barely makes playoffs, Iverson pulls out with his fake back actually want that guy here? What tree are you smoking? Iverson had his chances with the best players in the world in International competition, and he failed like the dog he is there too...Bronze Medal. This town insisted that Indiana get rid of the thugs period, Iverson is a convicted get rid of them, Bird had to take some deals that were not optimum...Jackson and Harrington for Murphy and Dunleavy looked like a horrible deal at the time, it has actually been better than expected, neither one plays much defense, and Dunleavy has been injury prone, but they have played allright, Jackson has been great for the Warriors obviously...Tinsley was not handled right from a market value standpoint, but Indiana did the right thing by sidelining him...Artest..well we were never going to get value, and we took a player that wasn't going to sign with us anyway to rid ourselves. Jermaine O'Neal...the poorest passing big man in the history of the NBA, gone thank heavens, though we do miss his rebounding/shotblocking. So now we have a rebuilding project 2-3 years in, a great young player in Danny Granger to build around, and we are going to bring cancer in to sell tickets now. Sorry, bleed red ink for another year, but please don't go there. It makes me sick to think it is even being considered (if it is, of which I am quite skeptical). By the way, Anthony, Tom's comment above (I attended my first Pacer game in 1969 by the way, a playoff game that was played at the Wigwam in Anderson because the Coliseum was rented out a year ahead for the Ice Capades)...he is talking about those lovely transplants, Kravitz and Eddie, media thugs who also need to be traded elsewhere also...of course the Colts are the darlings of Indy right now...they are winning, the Pacers are not...soon as they slip record wise, don't make the playoffs, the percentage will change. The Pacers need to build a winner the right way...not bring in a cast off, has been player, former pseudo superstar who has sabotaged every team he has ever played on. The Donnie Walsh teams of the 90's that won took years to get to that level. It takes time to build a winner...patience really is a virtue.
  • I agree! I don't want to see that Punk A** Bi*** on the Pacers. NO WAY!
  • I wonder if you folks would feel the same way about Chris Andersen, aka, The Birdman.
  • I think the point of the article was that although Iverson is not the most desirable person to have on our team from a pure basketball standpoint, that we must realize that as with any business NBA teams are about the bottom line. That means revenue. Anthony makes a good point that it would be a high risk move to bring in Iverson, alluding to many of the things that the readers said in a much more drawn out fashion, but that signing him to a 1-yr deal for the minimum might bring in a substantial amount of money for the ailing Pacers. It makse some sense because it would get us back on our feet financially and we would not be committed long term. Like Anthony said, high risk but potentially high reward. Nice piece of writing for the Indianapolis BUSINESS Journal because it really touches on how the business side of the NBA really dictates how many things are run.

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