GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The New York Knicks passed on a chance to sign Allen Iverson last summer. A few months and only one victory later, they have to decide if he's worth reconsidering.
Iverson is on the market again after the Memphis Grizzlies waived him Tuesday night. And while the Knicks weren't interested in the offseason, they won't rule the former scoring champion out yet.
"We had our little group from last year we wanted to keep together and that was the decision in the summertime, not to disrupt what we had," coach Mike D'Antoni said Tuesday. "Now, basketball's fluid and things change every second."
D'Antoni and team president Donnie Walsh both praised Iverson's abilities, but said the organization still had to discuss whether it's worth bringing him to a 1-9 team that is off to the worst 10-game start in franchise history.
Walsh wouldn't say much more, because Iverson hadn't even been waived yet by the time the Knicks finished practice. That happened Tuesday night, making Iverson eligible to be signed 48 hours after that.
"I've always had a lot of admiration for him because I had to play against him every year when I was in Indiana and I have a lot of respect for his career," Walsh said. "He's a small man who did everything he could to win games and took a lot of hard knocks and always got up."
But the Iverson of today would give any team pause. He's been hurt and unhappy over the last two seasons, with the Grizzlies the only team to make him an offer last summer after his turbulent stay in Detroit.
Things were even worse in Memphis. Iverson played only three games, voicing his displeasure about coming off the bench, just as he'd done in Detroit, before leaving the team to attend to personal matters. Walsh said that alone wouldn't make him rule out Iverson, saying, "You've got to consider everything when you're talking about anybody."
Iverson would be intriguing because the Knicks could sign him for only this season and not use up any future salary-cap space. Plus, he's still popular with many fans – some of whom have already grown impatient with Walsh's plan to rebuild through free agency next summer that left the team so vulnerable this season.
"I don't think we've changed our philosophy in that we want to be competitive now. We want to do everything we can to win right now, within the framework of keeping 2010 open like we talked about," D'Antoni said. "Whatever it takes that makes us competitive and to win right now, I think we'll do as an organization."
D'Antoni said both he and the former MVP could adjust to each other, even though Iverson might not be a natural fit in his offense. But he stopped short of saying the Knicks would or should pursue the 34-year-old guard.
"He's been a force in this league for God knows how long, so I'm not taking anything from him," D'Antoni said. "But at the same time, there's a lot of organizational stuff we'll talk about and see if it makes sense."