AI to the Sixers

Stop me if you've heard this one before... Allen Iverson is close to signing a deal with an Atlantic Division team. Mark Stein of says AI met with the 76ers management -- including coach Eddie Jordan, general manager Ed Stefanski and owner Ed Snider -- and a deal could be done in time to have AI suit up when the Sixers play the Nuggets in Philly on Monday night.

Let's assume the Sixers do re-sign their prodigal superstar. Is he worth a spot on your fantasy team?

In the short-term, my impulse is to say "yes."

For all the criticism of his ball-dominating play, Iverson really isn't that different from the player he'll be replacing: Louis Williams, sidelined for the next two months with a broken jaw. He also fits a similar profile to another guard that had some success in Eddie Jordan's offense: shoot-first point guard extraordinaire Gilbert Arenas.

Assuming he's in game shape -- and Sixer assistant Aaron McKie will make a determination on that later this week -- I see no reason why Iverson can't produce a high-teens scoring average with some assists, steals and threes.

In the longer term, the question becomes a lot harder to answer. Williams is a player the Sixers like a lot, and playing him behind Iverson doesn't make a ton of sense. But if Iverson is a good soldier and positive influence on the team (and I realize that's not a gimme), playing Iverson and Williams together in the backcourt could work. In that case, Iverson's minutes would be coming at the expense of Willie Green or Jason Kapono.

Of course, about ten days ago I made a similar case about how well AI might fit on the Knicks -- apparently James Dolan and Donnie Walsh didn't share that opinion. Nothing is carved in stone, and I certainly wouldn't waste a waiver claim until Iverson is officially a Sixer. But if you have a roster spot -- and particularly if you're scrambling to replace an injured guard, you could do far worse.


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