Marc Stein and Chris Sheridan are reporting that the Nuggets have acquired Allen Iverson from the 76ers in exchange for Andre Miller, Joe Smith and his expiring contract, and two first-round picks in next year's draft.
I've never really understood Denver's interst in Iverson, but with Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith out for a while, I can understand the need for another scorer. They also didn't really pay that hefty of a price, as Miller was a bad fit anyway and the two draft picks should be low ones. In addition, you know Iverson is going to be perfect for this system, and the NBA remains a stars league. If you have two guys like Iverson and Anthony, it may not matter what type of defense your team plays.
Still, you have to wonder whether the two alpha dogs will be willing to share the basketball. Iverson doesn't exactly have the best history of fitting in with other scorers. He never meshed with Jerry Stackhouse, Larry Hughes, and Derrick Coleman when he was younger, and the only time the Sixers ever became a title contender was when they surrounded Iverson with niche players like Eric Snow, Dikembe Mutumbo, Aaron McKie, and Tyrone Hill. However, it's been a long time since Iverson played with a competent second scorer, so it's certainly possible that he's learned his lesson and can play with a guy like Melo. The other practical problem is that there's no distributor in this lineup now. I'm guessing George Karl will put the ball in Iverson's hands, but even Iverson had Eric Snow to occasionally take the ball out of his hands. If the Nuggets try to play Earl Boykins with Iverson, it's going to fail miserably. Finally, will George Karl put up with the madness that will invariably occur with a Melo-Iverson tandem? He's had a short leash over his career, so you have to wonder.
For Phily, this isn't a bad deal at all. The two first round picks will help in a draft this deep, even if they're in the 20s. They could easily package those for a higher pick if they wish. Smith is a good expiring contract, and with Chris Webber coming off the books soon, their cap space is starting to clear up. As for Miller, he has a big contract, but he's going to be a solid veteran mentor for all these young guys. They easily could have done a lot worse.
The big loser in this whole thing has to be the Clippers. Not only are they struggling, but they have the perfect team and assets necessary for this deal to happen. They have their own disgruntled star in Corey Maggette to offer, and in Sam Cassell, they have a guy that has proven to be a great mentor for young players. They have the expiring contract of Zeljko Rebraca to give the Sixers cap relief, and they have a team where Iverson makes perfect sense. The fact that Denver beat them out with all this in mind is a killer for Clipper fans.