Iverson might be the answer to Miami Heat keeping Wade

The Miamiherald is reporting that Iverson might be the answer to keeping Wade. His nickname was ”The Answer” back before that became a question. At age 34, he is no long-term solution for the Heat or any other NBA team. But here, at least, he might just be something worthy of a new nickname.

Allen Iverson: “The Gesture.”Miami signing the free agent Iverson, and the interest is mutual, could be the pacifier that serves to mollify superstar Dwyane Wade, who has gone public — though tactfully — with his displeasure over his team being passive so far this summer while Eastern Conference rivals are making moves to get better.

Heat architect Pat Riley’s focus has been on planning for the much-anticipated, bounteous free agent summer of 2010, which is fine except that standing pat now surrenders Miami to one more season of so-so. Of barely getting into the playoffs and quickly getting out of them.

It’s hard to blame Wade, 27, for impatience with that idea when, all around him, he sees the Cavaliers giving LeBron James a little gift called Shaquille O’Neal; sees NBA finalist Orlando adding Vince Carter; sees recent champion Boston getting Rasheed Wallace; sees Detroit adding Ben Gordon; and sees Toronto landing Hedo Turkoglu.

Miami wants to hold on to Wade every bit as much as Cleveland wants to keep James when both can become free agents in 2010, but while the Cavs are offering their superstar incentive to re-sign by getting better now, Wade so far sees he is still holding up a roster that is not good enough and stagnant.

Like Shaq in Cleveland, Iverson in Miami would be an aging star, but a gesture, a good-faith effort to make it harder for Wade to go elsewhere rather than commit long-term to Miami.

Who knows? It might even be a start in somehow persuading Wade to extend his contract now (he is eligible to do so beginning Sunday) rather than wait a year and entertain outside offers.

By the way, Wade revealed on Twitter on Tuesday that his Pinecrest home is on the market for $3.3 million, but don’t take that to mean he’s leaving. He wants to stay with the Heat. But he wants reasons to stay.

Iverson is attainable and affordable as the free agency signing period opens Wednesday. More important, popping the 10-time All-Star into the guard rotation makes Miami clearly better, right away. He would bring the play-making experience at point guard that rookie Mario Chalmers cannot yet offer. He also would bring more pop with the ball to a team that still needs an offensive complement to Wade. Iverson can still create his own shot; he averaged 17.5 points last season.

The one concern with signing Iverson is that Miami would be pairing a veteran who can be tough to handle with a still-unproven second-year coach only five years older than Iverson.

Yet, within that concern would exist a good opportunity for Erik Spoelstra to prove to Wade that he can handle it all and become a championship coach, so that Wade isn’t inclined to engineer a behind-the-curtains overthrow of Spoelstra, the way Shaq did with Stan Van Gundy in 2006.

Besides, Iverson would be a nice fit here as Chalmers continued to develop at a less pressured pace with substantial minutes off the bench. Criticism of Iverson has rarely centered on his effort on the court. There aren’t many guys who will hustle more or fight harder for the basketball.

Miami taking steps to get better now is important if Wade says it is. That is the truth Riley must accept. The colloquialism ”Ain’t nobody happy if Mama’s not happy” sort of applies here. Wade’s happiness and confidence in the team’s move back toward championship contention are what will cause him to re-sign or depart.

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http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/columnists/greg_cote/story/1131644.html

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