What if the whole effort by Ed Stefanski, Tony DiLeo and the rest of the 76ers brass to bring Allen Iverson back to Philadelphia is a dog and pony show? You know a farce, a ruse or even simply a distraction. After reading more details of the offer the Sixers have supposedly put in front of Iverson, some here at Philadunkia.com believe that it is a very real possibility.
Think about it for just a second. Stefanski and the rest of the Sixers front office have been hearing the “Bring Iverson home” buzz since this past summer. With the team stuck in a 7-game losing streak and riddled with injuries, that buzz has now grown into a full fledged chorus. Simply put, the heat is on Stefanski to do something to get this turned around. His comments from earlier this fall that Iverson “was not in the 76ers plans” are now no longer enough to satisfy Sixers fans who see A.I. as a quick fix to the Sixers ills. Those same fans that long for Iverson are the ones staying away from the Wachovia Center in droves. Stefanski can’t go anywhere without hearing Iverson’s name. Head coach Eddie Jordan and current Sixers players are flooded with A.I. questions on a nightly basis. As long as the possibility of bringing Iverson home exists, Stefanski and Jordan will never be able to turn the attention of this city to the Sixers current “star” Andre Iguodala and their young bucks (Speights, Williams, Young and Holiday) who are the keys to the monumental task of rebuilding the 76ers.
So the Sixers front office decides to bite the bullet and go through the motions of chasing Iverson, but they never have any real intent of signing him. They meet with his agent Leon Rose and Iverson’s confidant Gary Moore, in Dallas. After that meeting, Stefanski makes Iverson & Co. a ridiculous non-guaranteed contract which would allow them to cut Iverson by January 10th (for whatever reason they dream up) without having to pay the full amount owed. They know it’s an offer he’ll never sign. Stefanski does Iverson and Rose the courtesy of meeting with them a second time in Philadelphia to haggle over the non-guarantee / money issue, but Ed holds firm to the offer on the table. After sleeping on it over night Iverson declines the offer, mostly from what our sources tell us because of family issues and he stays retired for now.
Iverson’s decison is a blessing for the Ed. here in Philly, it makes Iverson the villain and removes the “hater” tag from Stefanski. In general it takes the sign-a-big-name and fix this roster pressure off of Stefanski for 2009-10 as he can say to Sixers fans that he made a legit run at bringing the favorite son home to Philadelphia, but Iverson would not sign the deal. It also buys Stefanski time and allows him to continue to rebuild this roster how he sees fit — through the young core of players he has assembled. Additionally it prevents Stefanski from having to fire his good friend and hand picked new head coach Eddie Jordan, something that we’re sure would have happened if Iverson was brought to Philly and A.I. had to play in the Princeton offense.
Finally as a nice little bonus, Stefanski managed to grab some headlines for the Sixers in the middle of an Eagles run for a NFL playoff spot and Phillies hot-stove talk.
In short, Stefanski will ahve achieved a lot all for the cost of a plane ticket to Dallas.