Well, it has begun: "The answer to The Answer appears to be yes" writes Frank Isola in today’s New York Daily News. Indeed, Iverson-to-NYC, if it happens, is sure to create plenty of terrible puns splashed across the city’s sports pages. Will it happen though?
Nothing’s set in stone, but Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni are certainly considering it:
Donnie Walsh said Wednesday night that the Knicks have yet to make a final decision on whether to sign Allen Iverson but the Knicks president hinted that the club is leaning strongly in that direction.
Iverson, a former MVP, is expected to clear waivers at 6 p.m. today and will become an unrestricted free agent.
"Until something’s done it’s not done," Walsh said. "That’s the way I’ve always been. If he’s not signed it’s not done."
"When you’re 1-9 I’m not going to be quoted saying I don’t think we need to change anything," said Walsh, whose team is now 2-9. "But it’s what the change is. Is it going to benefit you really by making the change?"
"We wouldn’t be considering it if we thought we were functioning well," Walsh said. "And we’re not. But I want to make sure if we do something, it is the right thing to do."
So for now, at least, it seems that the Knicks realize they need to change the direction of their team, but they’re proceeding toward Iverson with caution. It’s understandable, especially considering Iverson’s track record over the past two years. Still, the Knicks are terrible right now—literally, one of the three or four worst teams in the league—and it’s not as if they even have a high draft pick to look forward to. Utah gets their lottery selection in the 2010 draft.
The fans have been patient while waiting for Donnie Walsh’s 2010 master plan to come to fruition, but they won’t be that patient. Part of the reason Walsh hired D’Antoni was his ability to play entertaining basketball, even without the most talented team. His ability to maximize the entertainment value of a paltry supporting cast allows the Knicks and Walsh to buy some time with their fans until 2010 free agency, when Walsh will try to make the Knicks into an actual contender.
But the team has been SO bad, so early, that adding Iverson might make sense at this point. Because even D’Antoni can’t make this group look good. And bringing in a superstar like Iverson, however declined, would allow New York at least a little bit of breathing room with their fans. Even if he doesn’t translate to any meaningful victories, the spectacle of seeing one of the game’s icons in a Knicks uniform might just be enough to distract the fans from the rest of the team’s players, and a record that figures to be among the league’s worst.
So... Could the Knicks possibly get more depressing? The Answer is YES!!!