relationship between Allen Iverson and the 76ers has been like a rocky
marriage: They fight a lot--even threaten divorce--but always make up. So it
wasn't surprising this summer that Iverson, 31, was again the subject of trade
rumors, although ultimately Philadelphia did not swing a deal. (A potential
predraft trade with the Celtics fell apart.) "Whatever decisions they
make," Iverson says of team management, "I will always roll with them.
I don't have a choice."
While Iverson has
upped his scoring average in each of the last three seasons, to a career-high
33.0 in 2005--06, the Sixers have continued their slow decline since losing in
the Finals in '01, missing the playoffs in two of the last three years. "We
haven't achieved the ultimate goal," says Iverson. "Obviously there
have to be a lot of changes and, if need be, adjustments on my part."
The club has
changed coaches (five in four years) like gym socks, to no avail. And with
Chris Webber, Samuel Dalembert and Kyle Korver also tied to lucrative long-term
contracts, what personnel moves can be made under the salary cap are
superficial. ( Philadelphia's lone veteran acquisition in the off-season was
journeyman forward Alan Henderson.) The only option that would create room to
shake up the team is to deal its star guard. Just don't expect him to go
think there would ever be a day that I'd ask to leave," says Iverson.
"When you've been some place for so long and you've been trying to
accomplish the same goal for years, you just want to keep going until the
wheels fall off."
Starting Lineup with 2005--06 statistics
Record: 38--44 (9th in East)
Points scored: 99.4 (8th in NBA)
Points allowed: 101.3 (25th)
Coach: Maurice Cheeks
(second season with the 76ers)