PATRICK BERKERY REPORTS: Guess Billy King passed on Stephen A. Smith’s suggestion that the Sixers and Allen Iverson kiss and makeup. Again. (Seriously, does Screamin’ A. answer to anyone at the Inky’s sports desk?? What’s he working on for Sunday’s big Jeff Garcia-T.O. grudge match? 1,000 hard-hitting words on how T.O. is just misunderstood? But I digress?)
The concept of the Franchise Player seems to work on paper but not so much in practice, at least not in this town (see Moses, Barkley, Schilling, Rolen). The first time A.I. and Larry Brown couldn’t co-exist, ’round about 2000, the best the Sixers were going to get for their petulant point guard was 80 cents on the dollar. Dude had/has all the talent in the world, but too much baggage for the Sixers to equal value. Right here right now, they’re lucky they got what they did from Denver. The dreaded “package” featuring: cap room (hello again, goodbye again former Sixer and first round stiff Joe Smith and his expiring contract); a decent enough point guard in Andre Miller (better passer than a shooter); and the Nuggets’ two first round picks (they’ll probably fall in the ’20s) in what’s shaping up to be a deep draft in June.
Let’s call it 60 cents on the dollar.
Actually, the Sixers might have gotten a little too much back. No shit. With A.I. sitting at home (and collecting $176,000 per missed game to do so) the Sixers are stinking up the joint like that guy I had the misfortune of following in the Mask & Wig men’s room at Collin Keefe‘s wedding. Insert the fundamentally sound Miller at the point, remove the cloud of uncertainty surrounding the A.I. scenario, and the Sixers could very well play themselves into a back-end-of-the-lottery team. A bummer, especially if/when Ohio State freshman Greg Oden declares his eligibility for the draft. To many, the seven-foot center is as good as gone after the first three picks. He could be the Sixers’ first legit big man since the June 1986 day Fox 29?s Don Tollefson (then at Channel 6) showed up late at my middle school graduation because the Sixers had just traded Moses Malone that day. Memories.
All of this begs the question: I wonder how Pat Croce‘s brother ? the one they caught on locker room surveillance stealing money from Iverson’s wallet ? feels about all this?