LAS VEGAS — Whether the Clippers and Allen Iverson end up doing business together on the court this season essentially will hinge on one thing: Iverson's meeting with Clippers General Manager and Coach Mike Dunleavy.
That's the obvious next, up-close-and-personal step to gauge Iverson's willingness to come off the bench, a flash point last season in Detroit, and his general attitude.
Dunleavy, who was watching games from the stands at the NBA's Summer League, on Tuesday confirmed the Clippers' interest in the free-agent guard but refused to elaborate on any future steps.
Their meeting probably won't take place in Las Vegas.
Though talks have been characterized as "very serious," there are outstanding issues on both sides. The Clippers still have other options, as does Iverson.
Iverson's other reported suitors are Miami and Memphis, although the latter appears to be mainly driven by the Grizzlies' owner, who called it a last-resort option for Iverson.
The Clippers' Baron Davis, who is in China, was said to be on board with adding Iverson and confirmed that with his posting on his Twitter page Tuesday: "Everybody's been askin about the AI talks. I LOVE AI. He is TOP 50. I remember watching A.I. when he was at GTown (Georgetown) & when he first got in the league he would be a great vet for our young guys to learn from."
The Iverson talks, which surfaced Monday, have vociferous backers and equally outspoken opponents. One question has been about the allocation of minutes between the three guards: Davis, Iverson and young Eric Gordon, who is coming off a sensational rookie season.
That is not thought to be a concern for the Clippers, who appear to believe the strengths of the three players would mesh, not clash.
The position, as it stands, is hardly a deep one for the Clippers and Davis, after all, has shown fragility throughout his career.
His 82 games played in the 2007-08 season with Golden State were the aberration, not his injury-riddled 2008-09 season with the Clippers or other years with the Warriors.
Griffin, Day 2
Meanwhile, it's a bit of a Christmas vibe for the Clippers in hot Las Vegas, and not because of a player on their summer league roster named Dionte Christmas.
It's all about No. 1 overall draft pick Blake Griffin, who played a fundamentally solid game in the Clippers' 88-86 win over New Orleans on Tuesday. He had 16 points and nine rebounds.
Clippers executives are giddy over Griffin's early returns. Or as giddy as you can possibly be in July.
"He was terrific," Dunleavy said of Griffin's debut Monday. "He didn't force the issue, made great plays, passes. We're extremely pleased."
Said Griffin: "I felt like I did some things better [tonight]. I remembered all the plays. I didn't get mixed up at all. I felt like I did a better job defensively at times, and not at times."
Griffin got an indication of his increasing fame when he attracted a pushy following tracking him through the hotel lobby after Monday night's game.
"Oh yeah, a few people, mostly grown men," he said. "So it wasn't really my crowd."
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Looking at a serious pay cut
Allen Iverson appears willing to sign for the mid-level exemption, which is $5.8 million. A look at his salaries over his 12-year career:
*--* Season Team Salary 1996-97 Philadelphia $2,267,000 1997-98 Philadelphia $3,128,640 1998-99 Philadelphia (All-NBA, 1st team) $3,537,000 1999-00 Philadelphia (All-NBA, 2nd team) $9,000,000 2000-01 Philadelphia (MVP) (All-NBA, 1st team) $10,130,000 2001-02 Philadelphia (All-NBA, 2nd team) $11,250,000 2002-03 Philadelphia (All-NBA, 2nd team) $12,375,000 2003-04 Philadelphia $13,500,000 2004-05 Philadelphia (All-NBA, 1st team) $14,625,000 2005-06 Philadelphia (All-NBA, 3rd team) $16,453,125 2006-07 Philadelphia/Denver $17,184,375 2007-08 Denver/Detroit $19,012,500 Career Totals* $132,462,640 *--*
*Note: Numbers may or not reflect contract-incentive bonuses.