Iverson talks placed on hold
By Marc J. Spears and Chris Dempsey
Denver Post Staff Writers
Article Last Updated: 12/19/2006 12:16:36 AM MST
With suspensions to deal with, the Nuggets have a pushed the pause button on any Allen Iverson talks, according to an NBA source.
A Western Conference executive maintained the Nuggets, Minnesota, Boston and the Los Angeles Clippers were the main teams interested in acquiring Iverson, who has asked to be traded. Miami coach Pat Riley said Monday the Heat has pulled out of the race.
But in the aftermath of suspensions three Nuggets received for fighting Saturday against New York, the NBA source said the Nuggets have been communicating with Philadelphia general manager Billy Knight only via text message.
If anything serious comes up in regard to Iverson, the Nuggets are expected to receive a call.
Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Mark Warkentien said suspended players Carmelo Anthony (15 games) and J.R. Smith (10) aren't on the trading block.
"The real players in an Iverson trade are the main ones that have been talked about," the Western Conference executive said. "It's not like the Utah Jazz are going to have 'a come to Jesus' meeting and trade for A.I. Billy already has his serious players. The deals are already 90-95 percent there. At some point he has to pull the trigger.
"He's been talking to (Indiana CEO and president) Donnie Walsh, who has the world's slowest trigger. And he's been talking to (ex-Sixers coach) Larry Brown, who has the world's fastest trigger."
Plus for the Jazz
As the dust settles on the suspensions for the Nuggets and they try to forge on without Anthony and Smith, one of the biggest beneficiaries might be the Jazz.
Utah started the season strong but dropped to 18-7 after an overtime loss Monday to the depleted New York Knicks. The Nuggets have found themselves in a chase mode, trying to stay in the division race.
Jazz players, though, aren't discounting the Nuggets just yet.
"It's early to say we're going to be able to pull away from them and secure our division," guard Derek Fisher said. "They still have some capable players, even with the guys that are out. But hopefully we can take advantage of it and give ourselves an opportunity to get some breathing room in the division."
After Monday's games, the Jazz leads the second-place Nuggets by three games in the Northwest Division. The teams play Jan. 6 in Denver while Anthony and Smith are out.
"There's still a lot of games left to play," Utah center Jarron Collins said. "We can't really worry about with the Nuggets are doing. We just have to focus on ourselves.
"Having said that, the Nuggets losing two of their top scorers in Carmelo Anthony and J.R. does hurt their team."
Fisher is also an executive committee member of the NBA Players Association. He said he wasn't surprised at the stiff penalties levied on the players involved in the fight.
"Everyone assumed that it would be fairly substantial in terms of the fines and suspensions and whatnot," Fisher said. "But as far as me saying anything, I really can't. At this point I don't have enough information about the situation."
Fisher said he would meet with the association's executive director, Billy Hunter, soon to make certain the league's punishments were solely on the individuals actions and had nothing to do with historical events.
Chris Dempsey can be reached at 303-954-1279 or firstname.lastname@example.org