NBA Splinters | July 18, 2009

by Patrick ‘Rey’ Reynell

>Clippers interested in Iverson; Sterling more concerned with ticket sales than team’s success

Yahoo! Sports reported earlier in the week that Clippers owner Donald Sterling is interested in signing Allen Iverson to – get this – sell tickets. Win games? Not important. Develop young talent. Who cares?

Sterling is correct that Iverson would help ticket sales. But, if it does not result in a better season, you would have to think that those sales would eventually return to normal at some point next season. If you recall, the Clippers had a small playoff run in the 2005-06 season. It appeared to be a resurgence for the Clippers and their fan base. That soon subsided after the following season reverted to poor business as usual for Los Angeles’ other team.

More importantly though is the young perimeter talent Mike Dunleavy has in LA. Eric Gordon has promise in the league. Plus, veteran guard Baron Davis still plays, though the possibility of him being traded always exists.

John W. McDonough/
John W. McDonough/

Signing Iverson will definitely take playing time away from some players. Iverson won’t help the Clippers get back to the playoffs any more than these guys could at least a couple of years down the road.

Whoever signs the thirty-four year old guard will get the former NBA MVP at a bargain. I haven’t heard anything higher than $6 million a year and no long term contracts. The Grizzlies and Heat have also shown interest.

>Dahntay Jones signs with Indiana Pacers; Larry Bird silently building an East contender?

Amidst the rampant free agent signings this NBA off-season, lost are the role players being swept up by intelligent GMs. Dahntay Jones signed a four-year deal with the Indiana Pacers. Jones definitely overachieved for the Denver Nuggets during their run to the Western Conference Finals. He was a solid defender and a great rebounder from the perimeter. Someone who the Nuggets may miss more than many realize.

Though Jones played admirably in the first two rounds, his play became overtly rough and aggressive in trying to stop Kobe Bryant. His style once resulted in four fouls in less than two minutes and a quick trip back to the bench.

If Jones can find an emotional balance in his style of play, he could help the youth-laden Pacers become contenders in the East sooner than later.

Larry Bird has his scorer and go-to guy in Danny Granger, who won the NBA’s Most Improved Player this past season after averaging 25.8 points and five rebounds, and he’s starting to put the rest of the pieces in place.

>Can Phil Jackson make a system player out of Adam Morrison?

Remember Adam Morrison? The former Gonzaga player who once graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and finished second in the NCAA National Player of the Year voting? Plagued as another Michael Jordan draft blunder (selected third overall in 2006), Morrison just won an NBA Championship as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers without logging a single playoff minute.

Morrison suffered an ACL tear in a preseason game and missed the whole 2007-08 season. After being traded to the Lakers this past season, he saw limited playing time on a team with an already established rotation on the wings.

Currently Morrison is playing well in the NBA Summer League. Though his career might not ever reach the lofty expectations once bestowed upon him in college, he looks as though he can still be a key contributor on a team. Who better to find that niche for Morrison than 10-time NBA Champion Phil Jackson?

Jackson is a guru when it comes to finding the right roles for players and getting more out of less. Not saying that Morrison is any less of a player than he was projected to be, but right now he has much working against him. He’s basically looking at a second rookie season with the Lakers.

Morrison seems like an offensive weapon the Lakers could use when Kobe Bryant is not in the game. A viable outside threat, and someone who can use the dribble to attack with a 6’9″ frame. Here’s to Morrison proving the critics wrong next season and Jackson hopefully finding that spot in the rotation for a once deadly shooter.

Here’s a recent interview of Morrison after scoring 22 points in a summer league game. Some good footage of his play included as well:

>More from summer league: Jonny Flynn, Dajuan Blair not skipping a beat

The Big East affiliate Doug Potter got us thinking about the impact Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn would have in the NBA. If the NBA’s summer league in Las Vegas is a measuring stick, Flynn will flourish with the open floor style. He’s showcasing his array of talents quite nicely.

Dajuan Blair keeps showing just how careless it was for those teams with first round picks to pass on him. He’s easily putting up double-doubles this summer, just as he did night in and night out at Pitt. San Antonio, along with recent acquisitions Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess, have to be confident in their chances of challenging the Lakers in the West next season.

Check out some game highlights of Flynn and Blair in action from Vegas:

> NBA Question of the Day: Which team has made the best off-season acquisitions?

Here are my favorite three.

1. San Antonio Spurs – Traded for Richard Jefferson. Had Dajuan Blair fall into their lap in the second round. Signed Antonio McDyess to a three-year deal.

2. Los Angeles Lakers – Lost Trevor Ariza but signed Ron Artest. They only keep this spot if they can re-sign Lamar Odom.

3. Atlanta Hawks – Re-signed veteran point guard Mike Bibby. Traded for Jamal Crawford. Gives them plenty of fire-power to go along with Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. The only questions will be if they can play defense and share shot opportunities.

There are still plenty of good free agents available, including David Lee and Lamar Odom. Check out the remainders at ESPN.

Got some NBA news or comments? Take a seat on the bench and let your ‘pickins’ be heard.

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