Dribbles: Iverson, Oden & Rondo’s All Star spot.

Editor’s note: Rather than boring you (well, all 5 of you) with a longer blog post each day on a specific topic, I’m going to incorporate a Dribbles section every now and again, where I briefly hit on a few NBA headlines of the day. Here’s our first shot.

Allen Iverson turns down D-League opportunity

Perhaps the biggest story in the NBA today was Allen Iverson, an all-time scoring legend and just straight-up baller in every sense of the word, declining an opportunity to play with the Texas Legends, the D-League team associated with the Dallas Mavericks. And, sadly for NBA fans out there, it looks as though the end to the NBA dream has come for the 37-year-old Iverson.

You really can’t say enough about Iverson. A career 26.7 points per game scorer who played more than 41 minutes a night and through God knows how many injuries, A.I. defined grit. At an even six feet tall and only 165 pounds, his toughness was unparalleled. Iverson dragged otherwise mediocre Philadelphia 76ers teams to the playoffs year in and year out, scoring 29.7 points a night in postseason games and even reaching 32.9 (and 46.2 minutes) per game in the Sixers’ 2001 NBA Finals run.

Regardless of his reputation off the court, Iverson’s one of those few athletes every generation who gave so much to the game, that the game owes him. I can’t blame Iverson for graciously turning down a D-League offer; Allen doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone, and there’s no doubt in my mind he could still, at 37, shred any defense.

OK, I’ll stop my Iverson love fest here. I wish the kid the best of luck.

[Editor’s note, part deux: I’ll have a full tribute post coming on Allen Iverson later this week, so if you’re interested, which you’re probably not, stay tuned.]

Heat, Cavaliers frontrunners in Oden sweepstakes

The first time Miami and Cleveland clashed over a free agent since … yeah, we won’t go there. But about a dozen knee surgeries later (OK, maybe not that many), Greg Oden, the top pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, appears on his way back, and Miami and Cleveland are the 7-footer’s most likely suitors, according to CBS Sports.

Cleveland has gobs of cap space and could (but won’t) offer Oden pretty much as much as they wanted, whereas Miami’s over the luxury tax limit and would be limited to the league minimum. For either team, it’s a low-risk, high-reward move. You get a skilled 7-footer who, assuming 80% health, can sure up your interior defense, block shots, rebound the basketball and finish around the cup.

The last time he suited up, Oden averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 23.9 minutes in 21 games (all starts) with the 2009-10 Trail Blazers. Those are numbers worth throwing the league minimum at, my friends.

Rondo has torn ACL, so who gets final East All Star spot?

With Rajon Rondo’s torn ACL in all likelihood ending his season (and delaying the start of next), Rondo’s Eastern Conference All Star spot is now up for grabs. League rules stipulate that David Stern & Co., not the coaches, are in charge of filling the void left by an injured player.

Brook Lopez, fourth in the league in PER, is certainly most deserving, but with names such as Kevin Garnett, Joakim Noah, Chris Bosh and Tyson Chandler already being named to the team, his add would give the East 5 power forwards/centers. So the likely candidates are Lopez’s Brooklyn teammates, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings or New York’s J.R. Smith.


Brooklyn is 27-18 and not yet represented on the squad, so I like one of the Nets to get the call. Both Williams and Johnson average 17.1 points per game, but Williams has the edge in assists, rebounds, steals and blocks. Then again, Deron’s pretty much the reason Avery Johnson was fired, so there’s that.

J.R. Smith is shooting less than 40% from the field and 32% from 3, scoring 16.2, less than Williams, Johnson and Jennings. Jennings, 18.6 points per game, is the unquestioned leader of a Bucks team that, also despite a coaching change, is 4 games over .500 and currently a playoff team. Then again, no Bucks player has made the All Star team since Michael Redd in 2004.

Translation: who the hell knows?

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickJDuprey.


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