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Iverson, Sixers meet in Dallas, inch closer to reunion

By David Aldridge, TNT analyst
Posted Nov 30 2009 5:53PM

The Philadelphia 76ers and Allen Iverson moved closer to one another on Monday, meeting for two hours in Dallas to discuss a potential reunion of the 10-time All-Star guard with his former team.

No contract was offered and Iverson will not be on the team's roster when it plays Monday night against the Mavericks. But in a significant development, senior management of the team has given the basketball side of the organization the go-ahead to sign Iverson if it wants.

Financial parameters for a potential deal were also discussed, according to a league source. The two sides were planning to meet again in the next couple of days.

>> David Aldridge's Morning Tip: As support wanes, Philly may be Iverson's only option

Iverson, his agent, Leon Rose, and his longtime personal manager, Gary Moore, met with the team's president of basketball operations, Ed Stefanski, assistant general manager and last year's interim head coach, Tony DiLeo, current head coach Eddie Jordan and assistant coach Aaron McKie, a former teammate of Iverson's when both played with the 76ers and still a close friend. The meeting, a source said, was for the coaching staff to gauge Iverson's willingness to be flexible when guard Lou Williams returns from a broken jaw.

This afternoon, we met with free agent Allen Iverson in Dallas for the first formal discussion regarding a possible return to the Philadelphia 76ers. The meeting lasted approximately two hours and covered a variety of topics, all of which we would prefer to keep between the team and Allen.

The meeting was attended by Allen, his agent Leon Rose and his personal manager Gary Moore, along with 76ers Senior Vice President/Assistant General Manager Tony DiLeo, Head Coach Eddie Jordan, Assistant Coach Aaron McKie and me.

At this time, both parties remain non-committal regarding a final decision and we will continue to discuss internally whether or not to pursue this course.

We want to thank Allen, Leon and Gary for taking the time to meet with us today.

The Sixers will have no further comment at this time and further updates will be provided as they become available.

Williams, who was injured last week, is expected to miss around 30 games. But the team does not want to retard his development, so it's likely he would go back into the starting lineup when he's healthy. That would mean Iverson would likely have to come off the bench, and that's been a non-starter for him the last two years, resulting in his being kept off the Pistons' playoff roster last year and having to work out a settlement of his contract with Memphis this year after just three games.

The 76ers are proceeding cautiously in determining whether they want to get back together with Iverson, who was traded to Denver in 2006 after a decade in Philadelphia -- at the end of a rancorous period in which Iverson had worn out his welcome with the team's top management. That included Sixers chairman Ed Snider, whose relationship with Iverson was frayed when he decided to grant Iverson's request for a trade.

But Snider has signed off on Iverson's return, leaving it up to Stefanski and the coaching staff, a source said.

"That was then, this is now," the source said.

If Iverson signs with the 76ers, it would be for a non-guaranteed, prorated amount of the veteran's minimum salary, a little more than $1.3 million for veterans with 10 or more seasons' experience. Keeping him for the 30-game period Williams is expected to be out would cost the team around $700,000 -- an expense that Comcast, the team's parent company, would have no trouble spending. If Iverson becomes difficult in any way, the team would just release him with no further financial obligations. That combination has addressed all of Comcast's concerns, so it is up to the basketball people to decide.

Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia first reported the Monday meeting between Iverson and the team.

A second source indicated Monday that the team has not yet contacted free agent guard Antonio Daniels, who has been available since working out a release of his contract from Minnesota earlier this season. The Cavaliers took a look at Daniels during the preseason but decided not to make him a contract offer. Still, Iverson is the best available player on the market.

He had announced his retirement last week, saying that he still felt he could play. However, most personnel people around the league believed that he would come back as soon as a viable team became available. The 76ers, next to last in the league in attendance -- and, more importantly, in desperate need of scoring punch -- fit the bill. Forward Elton Brand, who missed much of last season with a shoulder injury, was expected back in the lineup Monday night after missing the last few games with a hamstring injury.

The return of the iconic Iverson to the team that drafted him first overall in 1996, and for whom he played his best basketball, winning league MVP honors in 2001 and leading the 76ers to the 2001 NBA Finals, would be a shot in the arm for a franchise that has fallen by the wayside, both locally in terms of fan interest and in the Eastern Conference. Iverson won't make them contenders, but he'd make them more fun to watch.

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