Knicks Decide Iverson Isn't the Answer

Despite earlier indications, Iverson's not coming to the Garden

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Nov 20, 2009  |  Updated 12:35 PM EDT
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Knicks Decide Iverson Isn't the Answer

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It looks like it is up to Eddy Curry alone to save the Knicks season.

According to Howard Beck of the Times and Alan Hahn of Newsday (you'll need to pay to read Hahn's report), the Knicks came close to making a play for Allen Iverson but decided against it late on Thursday night. Beck says that Iverson's "long history of problems on and off the court" were the deciding factor, which jives with a report in the Daily News today that owner James Dolan didn't want Iverson because of character issues.

Dolan's day late and dollar short decision to actually pay attention to the things the Knicks personnel men are doing is charming. It must be a slow week on the vanity rock band circuit since Iverson was deemed a greater risk to the Knicks than what's already gone on at Madison Square Garden under his watch. This should have been a basketball decision and a basketball decision only, especially since Iverson's pro-rated $1.3 million contract represents a quarter of Dolan's goatee grooming fund if they needed to cut him loose before the end of the season.

We discussed the salient details of the basketball factors earlier this week, which essentially boil down to who you'd rather have starting at guard between Chris Duhon and Iverson. It's a laughably easy decision, unless the thing that really makes the vaunted Mike D'Antoni offense hum is a point guard who can't shoot, penetrate or pass well.

If there really were on-court concerns about Iverson's ability to be a good teammate and/or adjust to a lesser role than he's played in years past, that's understandable. You'll know that it wasn't the real reason, however, if the Knicks continue to play veterans like Duhon, Larry Hughes and Jared Jeffries at the expense of Wilson Chandler, Toney Douglas, Danilo Gallinari and Jordan Hill. You'll know its a crock when Nate Robinson is putting up 15 shots in a game or when Al Harrington is throwing up 25, and you'll know you're being fed a bill of goods every time David Lee takes the court as the starting center in place of Curry.

Curry's the only veteran who should be playing, using the simple logic that there's always the chance of a general manager being bamboozled into trading something for him if he's playing a lot and playing relatively well. Otherwise, it should be all kids all the time because the Knicks made it clear with this decision that they're interested in neither winning games nor playing a more entertaining brand of basketball. And that's fine and it fits with their long-stated plans, but only if they actually go through with it.  

We'll see what happens during their two games this weekend against the Nets and Celtics. The gut feeling is that the Knicks will wind up proving that they aren't actually into playing the kids, but surprises would be welcome.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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