Allen Iverson Close to Signing With Sixers: Source

By dan gelston
|  Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009  |  Updated 3:45 PM CDT
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Allen Iverson Close to Signing With Sixers: Source

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A.I. has reason to smile if the Sixers are willing to let him start.

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PHILADELPHIAAllen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers are closer to a reunion.

A person with knowledge of the contract talks says the Sixers offered a one-year, non-guaranteed contract to Iverson on Tuesday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract talks had not been made public.

Iverson, his agent and business manager met with team president Ed Stefanski, coach Eddie Jordan and two other members of the organization Monday during the first formal meeting between the Sixers and their former MVP.

Iverson announced his retirement last week after an ill-fated stint with the Memphis Grizzlies. The 10-time All-Star was NBA MVP in 2001 when he led the Sixers to the NBA Finals.

Iverson announced his intention to retire last week after no other team expressed an interest is signing the four-time scoring champion. The 6-foot Iverson played three games this season with Memphis before taking a leave of absence to attend to personal matters. He was waived after the two sides agreed to part ways.

He's on the brink of getting a second chance with the Sixers. The Sixers (5-13) have lost seven straight games entering Wednesday night's game at Oklahoma City and need Iverson to spark sagging ticket sales and their playoff chances.

This reconciliation was once thought foolish after their acrimonious split three years ago. Iverson's last game with Philadelphia was Dec. 6, 2006 in Chicago. He refused to play the fourth quarter and was banished from the team two days later. He was eventually traded to Denver as part of the Andre Miller deal, and bounced to Detroit then Memphis.

The Sixers finish their four-game road trip Saturday against the Charlotte Bobcats and Iverson's former nemesis, coach Larry Brown.

If Iverson accepts the offer, his likely debut would come Monday night at home against Denver. In a double-dose of intriguing timing, the Sixers play at home Dec. 9 against Detroit.

Perhaps Iverson will show his former teams that he still has something left in the No. 3 jersey.

Or, the Nuggets and Pistons will see they made the right choice to move on without the controversial guard.

CSNPhilly.com first reported the offer.

Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley told the AP on Tuesday that he spent almost an hour on the phone with Stefanski before his meeting with Iverson.

"I told him I thought Allen had the game and I thought he would be a positive contribution to his team and was sorry it didn't work out with us. I thought to get back with Philadelphia, it was a good chance it would work out for them. I feel extremely happy about it," Heisley said.

"Quite frankly, I'm sorry that we couldn't work it out between us and Allen. I don't feel duped. I don't feel upset. I quite frankly arranged for the severance, which we could've stopped which would've stopped him from being able to play for anybody. I did it so he would have an opportunity to go play."

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