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Weary Hollins: 'I'm done commenting' on Iverson

By Frank Hughes, for
Posted Nov 5 2009 2:26AM

OAKLAND, Calif. ( exclusive) -- Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins already sounds weary of Allen Iverson.

Responding to Iverson's assertion two days ago that he should be in the Grizzlies' starting lineup, Hollins put a quick end to the line of questioning in his pregame meeting with reporters before the Grizzlies faced the Golden State Warriors.

"I'm not commenting on Allen anymore," Hollins said. "I'm done commenting on what Allen says. Allen has a right to say whatever he wants to say."

Iverson missed the preseason with a hamstring injury, then came off the bench in his debut Monday night, a 127-116 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

Iverson played just 17 minutes behind starters O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley, after which he told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal: "I had no problems with the hamstring. I had a problem with my butt sitting on that bench for so long."

"I'm not a bench player," Iverson continued. I'm not a sixth man. Look at my resume and that'll show I'm not a sixth man. I don't think it has anything to do with me being selfish. It's just who I am. I don't want to change what gave me all the success that I've had since I've been in this league. I'm not a sixth man. And that's that."

Hollins said before Wednesday's game that Iverson will continue to come off the bench for the 1-3 Grizzlies.

"Man, look, Allen has played 20 minutes in two months," Hollins said. "There is no way we are making a change and going in a different direction. If you want to talk to me about the Memphis Grizzlies as a team, (fine), but there is no way I am standing here and talking about Allen Iverson. Sorry."

Iverson did not speak before the game, walking past a group of reporters eating a clump of grapes on his way to the court to warm up.

Hollins said the topic of Iverson already is stale, even if he knew when the Grizzlies signed the lightning rod for controversy that he would be a regular topic of conversation.

"What my frustration is is that I have to talk about Allen Iverson in every setting," Hollins said. "I want to talk about the Memphis Grizzlies as a team. And even when Allen was out, I was having to talk about Allen. That is my frustration. I want to talk about the Memphis Grizzlies.

"If (Iverson) plays well and you want to ask me about how he played, that is great. If he plays poorly and you want to ask me about that, that is great, too. But I don't want to answer questions about what he says and what he's thinking. My job is to coach the team as a unit. I have to make decisions and all the players in that locker room are not going to be happy about it. But it is my job to try to do the best that I can."

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