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Iverson on 'indefinite' leave from Grizzlies

By Dan Arritt, for
Posted Nov 8 2009 7:27PM

MEMPHIS ( exclusive) -- After bemoaning his back-up role with the Memphis Grizzlies, veteran guard Allen Iverson left the team Saturday following a meeting with the team's owner and Coach Lionel Hollins.

"It's a personal issue," Hollins said before the Grizzlies played the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. "And it's indefinite."

Memphis owner Michael Heisley gave the four-time NBA scoring leader permission to skip the Grizzlies' game Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

According to a team spokesman, Iverson participated in a walkthrough at the team's hotel in the morning and then hopped a flight in the afternoon after he and personal manager Gary Moore met with Heisley.

Iverson, a former NBA rookie of the year and league MVP, played Friday night in a 114-98 loss to the Lakers, scoring eight points in 22 minutes. He had come off the bench in the previous two games after sitting out the first three with a hamstring injury.

"I just want to win, I hate losing more than I like winning," Iverson said prior to Friday's game. "Its just a frustrating feeling losing. I've never been a loser in my career and I dont want to start now. I'm not trying to be selfish or anything like that, I just want to win."

Iverson, who signed a one-year contract with Memphis in September after a tumultuous stint last season in Detroit, has been open about his displeasure with his reserve role. On Friday, he also told reporters he also wasn't communicating with Hollins, who was hired last January to replace Marc Iavaroni.

"I think that's probably the worst part of all this," Iverson said after the loss to the Lakers. "That while all this is going on, we have never talked to each other. That's probably why it's at this point right now. We've just never had a conversation, so it's probably going to always be hard for me and him to see eye-to-eye, because we've never even talked to each other. Obviously that's what you do if you're trying to accomplish the same goal."

When asked before Saturday's game to respond, Hollins bluntly: "If Allen wants to talk to me, my door is open. I talk to him during the game before the game and after the game.

"I understand star power, and that's to be expected," Hollins added. "I wouldn't mind even talking about Allen's star power if it was about the game and his performance during the game, versus what Allen has said and what he will or won't do."

Hollins said third-year player Marcus Williams would likely assume Iverson's minutes during his absence. contributor Bryan Chu and The Associated Press added information to this report.

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