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Oh, By The Way, There's a Game Tonight

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There's still pretty much nothing out there regarding the Iverson trade, just more of the same.  Mitch Lawrence of the NY Daily News seems to have the most definitive information.  He says Golden State is closest, and also has more about potential Clippers deals.

Allen Iverson's departure from Philadelphia might be coming very soon, as Sixers GM Billy King told another Eastern Conference executive last night that he has "two deals on the table, ready to go."

One of the deals King was strongly considering is with Golden State, for point guard Baron Davis, center Andris Biedrins and a third unidentified player. In addition to Iverson, the Warriors would get backup center Steven Hunter. While a source close to one of the players involved called the deal "done," the Sixers remain quiet about where they will be sending Iverson.

Earlier yesterday, they reportedly rejected the Clippers' offer of Corey Maggette and Cuttino Mobley, with Mobley's deal having three more years to run at nearly $30 million.

In all, there are 17 newspaper stories referenced in ESPN's Rumor Central (Insider required), but the vast majority of them say nothing.  A lot of them are of the 'We're not pursuing AI' variety.

Meanwhile, Jason Reid of the LA Times finally got on top of the story after basically ignoring it for the last week.  He confirms much of what we suspected:

  • The Sixers asked for Livingston - the Clippers said "No".

  • One obstacle is the luxury tax threshold, which would be all but unavoidable with Iverson, an extension for Livingston, and a new contract for Ross.

  • Corey Maggette is going to be traded, whether it is to Philly or elsewhere.

That last item is probably the most significant to fans, and is based on agent Rob Pelinka asking the Clippers to trade his client.  

The Clippers initially called the 76ers to gauge their interest in Maggette, whose agent, Rob Pelinka, recently asked the Clippers to trade the seven-year veteran, sources said. The 76ers then steered the conversation toward Iverson.

Maggette has averaged at least 20 points a game in two seasons. He volunteered to come off the bench this season and is averaging 14.1 points, but his minutes have dropped from 29.5 a game last season to 25.6 this season -- his fewest in six seasons.

Maggette has not publicly expressed dissatisfaction with his role, but Pelinka apparently believes Maggette could contribute more with another team. The Clippers are trying to accommodate Maggette, sources said, but won't make a move unless it benefits them too.

The financial aspect of Corey's situation is something we haven't really talked much about.  Corey's 6/$45M deal looked to be significantly under market price when Corey was averaging 20+ ppg and leading the team in scoring.  For a guy who plays 25 minutes a game, it seems about right.  He has a player option for 2008.  If he plays the next 18 months as a reserve, it could cost him (and Pelinka for that matter) a lot of money.  

Putting the Iverson pieces together, I have a few observations:

  • Why would Philly even ASK for Maggette and Livingston when the Clippers said 'NO' to that deal in the summer?  Note to Billy King - you're in a weaker negotiating position now then you were then.  Duh.
  • The progression of reported Clipper deals seems feasible.  They ask for Maggette, Livingston.  Clippers say no.  Clippers counter with Maggette and Mobley.  Sixers say no.  But if the Sixers turned down the Mobley deal because of Mobley's contract (which I said they would) then Maggette plus Cassell would be better for them.  Not perfect, but better, since Sam's contract would come off at the same time as Webber's, and they're not actually going to get under the cap until then anyway.  
  • What is the mysterious second 'deal on the table' that Billy King has?  Is it Maggette and Cassell, except that he has to wait until 12/15 before Cassell can be included?  

If Philly is looking more for basketball players, they should probably take the Baron Davis, Andris Biedrins deal (although I'm surprised GS would even offer that).  If it's more about the salary cap, then the Clippers may be in the driver's seat.