Allen Iverson's Season Ends Early
Obviously, there's more at play here. As FanHouse's Matt Watson has reported over the past few weeks, the Iverson-Pistons relationship has turned into something awful. You'd have to imagine this early break-up -- with the playoffs in question -- has more to do with personal emotion than A.I.'s back.
On Sunday, Iverson griped about his bench role with Detroit. Four days later, A.I. (a free agent this July) told reporters he'd rather retire than come off the bench next season.
Look at those comments and tell me Iverson's month-long absence had nothing to do with his demotion to the bench in February. This is not to say Iverson wasn't actually injured. (The initial diagnosis had Iverson missing two weeks. He missed a full four.) But given the circumstances (playoffs in jeopardy) and the timing, it's impossible to read this as anything other than a bad break-up between A.I. and the Pistons.
Clearly, Iverson will not be re-signing with Detroit this summer. The retirement talk is surely bluster -- Iverson loves the game, and he'll get offered non-negligible money by someone, even if only a couple teams would be in place to give him a starting role. Thank goodness that the Chauncey Billups trade was all about cap space -- and Rodney Stuckey's development for Detroit has been solid -- because the Iverson portion of the swap ended up as a complete disaster.