Grizzlies make an offer to AI

It’s that time of year in the NBA. Free agency is winding down, training camps are still a few weeks away and the news is generally slow.

So when the worst team in the league makes an offer — doesn’t sign, mind you, only makes an offer — to a 34-year-old former MVP whose best years are behind him, it becomes the lead story on ESPN’s NBA page.

Iverson is one of the most high profile, unrestricted free agents remaining on the market, and there were reports in recent days that he was leaning hardest toward reuniting with his old coach, Larry Brown, with the Charlotte Bobcats.

But the Bobcats are for sale and are under severe financial constraints, and Iverson’s other strongest suitor — the Miami Heat — is already more than $3 million into luxury tax territory and has not been willing thus far to make Iverson a substantial financial offer.

Memphis is approximately $3.5 million under the salary cap for the 2009-10 season and thus could easily outbid Charlotte and Miami for the services of the 10-time All-Star, whom Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley sees as a strong gate attraction.

Iverson could help a contender, but his stint in Detroit leaves the impression that he doesn’t play well with others. This is why teams like Charlotte and Memphis are in the running for his services.

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AI getting close to a deal?

Yes, according to his Twitter feed.

My people just informed me that we are getting close to a deal. I asked them to call me the when its done. I am so ready to know!

I have not been this eager with anticipation since the night before the NBA Draft in 96. Then I knew where I was going, now I want to know!

It sounds like even he doesn’t know where he’s going. Why are his people keeping him in the dark? So that he won’t spill the beans on Twitter?

Chris Sheridan outlines the five teams that are likely in the mix for AI’s services: Miami, New York, Charlotte, LA Clippers and Memphis.

He thinks the Heat are the frontrunner.

Marc Stein with the latest on Odom, Boozer and Iverson

NBA Rumors: Odom, Iverson, Lee and more

Lakers only offering Odom a three-year deal?

Reports persist that Odom has been offered deals spanning three and four seasons in length from the Lakers, but that differs sharply from every bankable indication we’ve received.

The Lakers’ best offer to Odom, so far, tops out at $27 million over three seasons. The expectation among rival teams remains that the sides will eventually come to terms.

This makes more sense. I don’t know why Odom would turn down a four-year deal from the Lakers worth $36 million to consider a five-year deal worth $34 million from the Heat. If the Lakers are only offering three years, then the total value of the contract is about $24 million after state taxes, so Odom could elect to go with the security of the extra $10 million in the Miami deal.

This, coupled with the Lakers’ decision to pull their offer from the table, might convince Odom to head to Miami and play for the mid-level. Pat Riley also indicated that the Heat are trying to work out a sign-and-trade for Odom, though it’s not clear what players would have to be involved to get the Lakers to agree to take on the extra salary. Udonis Haslem? Michael Beasley?

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NBA Free Agency Rumors: AI, Odom, Childress and more

– The Clippers are interested in signing Allen Iverson, and if he’s interested in a big market where he can rehab his image, this might be the place. It looks like Miami isn’t willing to offer much money, but if cash is more important than playoff potential, then the Clips are a good fit.

– According to GM Mitch Kupchak, Lamar Odom and the Lakers aren’t on the same page. The team has offered $8 million per season but Odom wants $10 million, and the contract’s length may be an issue too. Dallas, Miami, Phoenix and Portland (if the Jazz match their offer for Paul Millsap) have emerged as possible landing spots for Odom. He doesn’t have much leverage if the Blazers aren’t interested. The other three teams would have to work out a trade and it would take a good player (Josh Howard, Michael Beasley, etc.) to get the Lakers to bite.

– The Jazz have until February to move Carlos Boozer before the luxury tax implications of keeping both Boozer and Paul Millsap kick in. Right now, it looks like the Jazz are planning to match, even if they have to take out a loan to pay Millsap the huge signing bonus that is a part of his deal with the Blazers. If the Jazz do match, it will be interesting to see if the Blazers have a Plan C after missing out on Hedo Turkoglu and Millsap.

– After a brief flirtation with the Bucks and the Bobcats, Josh Childress is heading back to Greece. The Hawks still hold his rights, and his camp was unable to work out a sign-and-trade with Milwaukee or Charlotte, so Childress’s best option was to play for Olympiakos for another season.

– Brandon Roy wants a fifth year option, but the Blazers have only offered four years. It’s not clear what the Blazers are worried about; I’d want to lock him up for as long as possible.

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