Iverson Could Be The Answer for Heat

With Artest signing with the Lakers, Iverson could be the next best thing

Despite warning us that he would be inactive during the free agency period without an early commitment from Dwyane Wade, it appears Pat Riley is working on a little sumpin' sumpin'.  Or trying: yesterday, NBA sources said that the Heat's GM has contacted both Ron Artest and Allen Iverson to guage interest in a trip south.

Artest confirmed later in the day he'd be signing with the Lakers (gulp). But what about Iverson? Riley should go after him, and hard.

What's in it for the Heat?  Help. Dwyane Wade has made it very clear he doesn't want to score 99 percent of the Heat's points.  "I would love to get somebody else in that can handle the ball, as well, at times, and make plays," he said last year, before having to do just that all season long.

Iverson fills that role.  Sure, he's 34, and scoring at about half the rate of his '05-'06 career season, but A-I is still an offensive threat -- 17 points per game would have been awfully helpful for Wade last year.  With his usual dazzling play, heart, and unflagging effort, Iverson is just the spark the Heat need.

Why would he come?  Iverson was frustrated with his vague role in Detroit, and apparent intentions to cut into his playing time. Miami offers a clear assignment and a good chunk of time, not to mention a change of scene and chance to make a playoffs run with the new MV3.  And, you know, everything the city has to offer, which is...everything. He's been in Detroit, for crying out loud.

How would it work? The Heat have a $2 million veterans' exception and a $5.5 million mid-level exemption to offer.  They're already in luxury tax territory, but what else is Micky Arinson for? Drain his pockets!  Still, Riley's sales pitch would have to be something along the lines of, "So, Allen, how about signing a one-year contract for a tenth of what you made last season? We have café con leche!"

But that's Riley's problem to sort out, if indeed The Answer is interested.  Working in the Heat's favor is the fact that Iverson is staring down the final stretch of his career -- or at least rounding the final turn -- and won't fetch as much as he's used to on the market this go-round.

And really, it's Iverson.  With so much staid do-gooding -- Wade and Zo were out fighting foreclosures last week -- Miami could use a little funning up.

Janie Campbell is ready for her dual MV3 tattoos.  Make it happen, Riley!  Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.

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