Allen Iverson might still prove to be a free agent answer for the Miami Heat.
According to a source close to Iverson (pictured right) on Thursday, Riley reached out to the 10-time NBA All-Star recently to let him know that the Heat "has continued interest in (Iverson's) services" and also that Miami "could be a great opportunity for us."
Speaking with reporters by phone from his Los Angeles home earlier this week, Riley acknowledged that there had been Heat interest in both Iverson and free agent guard Jamaal Tinsley. But Riley also said there were no plans to bring in a player to start ahead of rising second-year guard Mario Chalmers.
Riley also suggested he was less likely to bring in an established veteran now than before the Heat lost out in its chase for Lamar Odom, who was the team's top free agent target. Odom re-signed with the Lakers last week and turned away from the Heat's five-year, $34 million offer.
Obviously, Riley isn't ready to completely close the door - ever after Odom slammed one shut - on an Iverson addition to a roster that needs a proven, veteran perimeter scorer to complement Wade.
In addition to the Heat, Iverson had received at least some level of interest from the L.A. Clippers, New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies. The Clippers and Grizzlies were, at one point, reportedly ready to offer Iverson a one-year deal for about $5 million. Those teams were interested in A.I. as much for his potential box-office appeal as his slightly diminished but still productive basketball skills.
Iverson has said from the start of free agency in July that he would prefer to sign with the Heat and play alongside of Dwyane Wade if a deal could get done. But the Heat has downplayed its interest publicly and likely would only be interested in Iverson at a price between $1.3-$2 million for one season.
According to the source, the Heat has not yet made a concrete offer to Iverson. But Riley has told Iverson's camp that he will soon get back to them. Riley, according to the source, also asked that "before (Iverson) considers accepting any (other) offer, to please get back with him."
With each passing week, Iverson's market value only seems to decrease. His age (34), image issues and demands to be able to compete for a starting job make him an ill fit for many teams.
But at a bargain basement discount, he might be a worthwhile, short-term investment for the Heat.
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