In response to Man of Pace's most recent FanPost about the rumors of Allen Iverson considering a move to the Pacers, I did some serious soul searching and I believe the Pacers should go for it! I also believe they can get their hands on the Answer with very little risk involved. Here's what has to be done:
The Pacers have exhausted their Mid Level Exception on the players they already acquired this summer, so that option is out. The only way the deal works involves a sign and trade with Detroit.
Indiana has about $2.25 million in S&T money from the Jermaine O'Neal deal last year. Since Iverson was reported to be willing to sign for somewhere in the $5 million range, Indiana would probably have to throw in a player to make contracts equal under CBA rules.
There is only one available player on the Pacers' current roster who has a salary that could contribute to a S&T getting done - Travis Diener, who currently has a 1 year deal worth $1.74 million. Luckily, salaries don't have to match exactly. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team's incoming salary cannot exceed 125% of the outgoing salary + $100,000. So, in terms of a money standpoint only, the trade would work if Iverson would agree to sign a 1-year salary at $5,087,500 or less.
Diener makes some sense for the Pistions, considering Will Bynum is their only point guard behind Rodney Stuckey. And, he's only inked for one more year, so they aren't tied down to a lengthy salary.
For Indiana from a financial perspective, it's a one-year experiment with
no few strings attached. Iverson's #1 uni would certainly be a major contributor to jersey and ticket sales. It's not out of the question that Iverson's jersey would be in the top 5 in sales for the year, which is major money coming back to Indiana. Also, there's no denying that Iverson's talents on the court would help get fans back to Conseco. Not to mention he vaults the Pacers into the playoff discussion. A scoring tandem of Iverson and Danny Granger would give opposing teams nightmares night in and night out.
From a personnel standpoint, it takes care of worrying about a 4-man rotation (possibly 5 depending on the Pacers' stance on A.J. Price) at point guard. Iverson can play the 1 or 2, depending on match ups. A combination of Ford and Watson can split time at point guard when Iverson plays shooting guard.
However, It's not all cake and ice cream. There are several potential catastrophic risks attached to an Allen Iverson signing. For starters, both T.J. Ford and Earl Watson have been quite notorious for vocalizing their discontent of playing backup PG on previous teams. So much so, they were asked to be traded and fell out of favor with fans in Toronto and Oklahoma City. So, coach Jim O'Brien could have some pride issues with which to deal. Iverson has some baggage of his own in regards to playing time. He would expect to be the starter. Could he handle coming off the bench? It didn't go so well for him last year in Detroit. He had much to do with the dissension amongst players and coach Michael Curry in the Motor City. O'Brien better be prepared for a bumpy ride if he asks Iverson to come off the bench to spell Ford and/or Watson. All the work the Pacers have put into finding quality character players might blow up if not taken care of early. Don't doubt for a moment that if all goes wrong, O'Brien will be looking for new employment come spring of 2010!
It's definitly a high-risk, high-reward decision. If accomplished, Larry Bird would need some major props for sticking to his guns and getting marquee talent at a bargain. He'd finally get that second All Star caliber player to pair with DG 33. Iverson may literally be the Answer the Pacers have been looking for to help get them back on the winning road. Sometimes big risks pay off huge. Just ask 2008 GM of the year Danny Ainge about taking huge risks by bringing in big-name talent to a previously wretched team.