January 2, 2007
DENVER – Allen Iverson said today that he probably wouldn’t have been traded to the Denver Nuggets if Philadelphia 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks had managed personnel better and listened to his input.
Iverson said he received no response after telling Cheeks that Andre Iguodala wasn’t a good fit at point guard. He said he wanted Philadelphia to trade him after he realized “what I was saying didn’t matter to the organization and to the coaching staff.” “I had been there for 10 years, and I thought my opinion mattered,” Iverson said before the Nuggets hosted the 76ers at Pepsi Center in Iverson’s first game against his former team. “All I wanted was what was best for that team. All I wanted to do was win basketball games. “When I thought another style or something else would have worked, I felt like they owed me enough just to try it out. They weren’t willing to do that. They were willing to keep losing basketball games, and I didn’t want to be a part of that.” The Nuggets acquired Iverson last month for Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two first-round draft picks. Iverson played 10-plus seasons with Philadelphia, which selected him No. 1 overall in the 1996 draft. Iverson said he anticipated the trade after Cheeks told him Dec. 8 that he wouldn’t play in that night’s game against Washington. He missed six straight games, all losses, while Philadelphia tried to trade him. “It wasn’t supposed to end the way that it did,” Iverson said. “I never expected Philly to let it happen the way it happened. I never expected Mo to let it happen. For Mo to tell me something like that, I would have expected him to fight for me.” Said Cheeks: “I’ve got to try to do things that are conducive for our basketball team. Anything I do is not personal against anyone. I do not regret anything that I’ve done. I still respect Allen a great deal.” Asked if he could have prevented his relationship with Cheeks from souring, Iverson said, “Maybe if I didn’t complain about losing. Maybe if I would have continued to feel like it was OK to lose basketball games. Maybe if I didn’t have any pride. Maybe if I didn’t have any competitiveness in me. Maybe if I didn’t have any heart, I wouldn’t have said anything about it. “You lose 12 out of 14, 18 out of 20 basketball games, something needs to be done. Something needs to be said. You’ve got to look at something else besides Allen Iverson.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0256 or firstname.lastname@example.org