Thursday, December 14, 2006

Get On The Phone Riles!

The Answer in a Heat uniform? I too am frothing at the mouth!

When it was first reported that the Philadelphia 76ers had been serious about meeting Allen Iverson’s trade demands, the Heat fan in me said. “Wow. That’s interesting. But no way would I want him here.”

Well, I’ve since taken the Heat fan in me out to the back and had him beaten senselessly with his own bong. Because, the Heat are suddenly in the A.I. mix after Pat Riley said – and I quote -- "I would be delinquent in my responsibilities if I wasn't interested in Allen Iverson. That's all I'm going to say. I'm not going to comment any more. It's like when Shaquille came out there. I was frothing at the mouth. So my level of interest can be gauged on that comment."

And, as the kids say, I Am Down Wit Dat. The kids do still say that, right? Get off my damn lawn!!!

Of course, this is one of those stories that could quickly become a non-story. But because the Heat are struggling at the moment and because, let’s face it – if any one can make a mega-trade happen, it’s Riles -- it's got most Heat fans giddy with delight. He did it with Shaq and he can do it again. No one else involved in the possible trade scenario has as much pull or leverage as Riles and, if the 76ers are looking for immediate help and a future draft pick, I think the Heat can compensate better than most. Plus, A.I. has already nixed a trade to the Bobcats. So the guy wants to go to a winner. That means it could be us, Denver or Dallas.

So will this happen? I guess we’ll see. But if I does happen. Whoa Nellie. And for the record, I consider no one on this Heat team untouchable outside of the Big Two (Shaq & Wade). Yes, as much as I’d hate to say this – I’d trade Udonis for A.I. I’d trade Posey and, believe it or not, I’d trade the mega-super-star Antoine Walker. I know. It would suck to lose 'Toine. But, hey, you gotta make some sacrifices to win.

As far as the whole chemistry thing ... Again, Riley comes in as the favorite to make it work with A.I. and Wade/Shaq. And Iverson is a smart guy. If he did come here, he’d know the deal and he’d do his part to be a great team-player. The man wants a ring. So I say … Get on the phone, Riles!

Just don’t expect A.I. to make practice a big deal. But that’s fine. It’s just practice. I mean, we’re talking about practice. Not a game. Not a game. Not a game. We’re talking about practice.

Get on the phone, Riles! Want to repeat this season? There’s your Answer.

(No one else but US wants this to happen.)

Update: From’s Marc Stein:

"Do not discount the Heat. I've been convinced.

At first glance, it would appear that Pat Riley doesn't have much to offer. But as a longtime Riley watcher reminded me Thursday, that's how it looked when Shaquille O'Neal popped onto the market. And then Miami got Shaq for far less than expected. No matter what you think of Riles, he gets deals done.

Besides …

I'm not sure that the Heat are so far away. James Posey has a nice-sized expiring contract ($6.4 million). Dorell Wright and/or Wayne Simien fit the Sixers' youth requirement. If Philly were willing to take back Jason Williams' contract (which expires when Webber's does), cash and a future first, this could be a match.

Udonis Haslem's name is out there, too, but that's too much. Right, Pat? Haslem is too valuable to part with, given where Shaq and Alonzo Mourning are in their careers.

If such a trade nudged Miami into luxury-tax territory, furthermore, Iverson becomes an $80 million gamble as opposed to a $40 million risk in the two seasons after this one.
But I repeat: Don't write the Heat off. I personally struggle to imagine Iverson and
Dwyane Wade in the same backcourt – as with A.I. and Kobe Bryant – but I'm not in great position to question Riley's wisdom after what happened last May and June."

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