Celtics need to heed caution in dealing for Iverson
Posted: Monday July 17, 2006 1:06PM; Updated: Monday July 17, 2006 3:32PM
Though Al Jefferson struggled through most of last season, his potential is too high a price for Boston to pay for Allen Iverson.
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Before we begin to rant, rail and remonstrate, let's go over what should be common knowledge regarding the Boston Celtics' rumored pursuit of Allen Iverson:
For all intents and purposes, Iverson and Celtics superstar Paul Pierce should be able to coexist. Both are determined offensive players who show a keen interest in winning above all else, but they've also proven willing to give up the ball in late-game situations to lesser players if it means a better chance at winning. It's hard to imagine Pierce balking at sharing the ball with AI, or vice versa, with the game on the line.
Rumors that Iverson could go to Denver (for Marcus Camby and Andre Miller) or Los Angeles (for Clippers Corey Maggette and Shaun Livingston) could only have come out of the Sixers organization, as they try to set an outrageous tone for trade offers.
Philadelphia's best trade for Iverson, as Chris Mannixpointed out last week, is with the Boston Celtics. Yes, they're 40-year divisional rivals, but Sixers GM Billy King can't let that cloud his vision when trying to dump a 31-year-old whom he owes $60 million.
Given all of the above, the only issue left to sort out is how many assets Celtics GM Danny Ainge is willing to part with for the seven-time All Star.
Our advice: not much.
Wally Szczerbiak, he of the hefty contract and established scoring touch, would no doubt have to be involved. Sebastian Telfair, the 21-year-old point guard pointedly sought out by Ainge from the Trail Blazers at the expense of drafting Randy Foye with the seventh pick in last month's draft, would also seem to be a natural fit once he is eligible to be traded on Aug. 28.
From there, things get iffy. The Celtics stole high school phenom Gerald Green with the 18th pick in last year's draft, and although he disappointed by showing up to the Las Vegas Summer League out of shape this year, he has the potential for greatness. (Of course, potential greatness at shooting guard doesn't always drive a team to the Finals, in spite of what we saw in Miami in June.) It is also doubtful that Ainge wants to give up on do-it-all forward Ryan Gomes, which would be wise, and the promising Delonte West is probably off limits too.
We can't see Philly wanting anything to do with Theo Ratliff or Brian Scalabrine. Kendrick Perkins is already a solid pivotman, so Ainge likely won't trade him. That leaves third-year big forward Al Jefferson, who disappointed in 2005-06 after a series of ankle injuries derailed his season, as a potential throw-in.
And if that's the price, it's too high. Jefferson is only 21, can score all over the paint and held his own rebounding last year in spite of two dodgy ankles that left him afraid to leave the ground. The Celtics can't give up on him this early, not as enticement for a Sixers team -- already backed up against the proverbial wall -- to send them a 31-year-old waterbug.