The 76ers and Allen Iverson were reunited today, with the 34-year-old former All-Star agreeing to a non-guaranteed contract for the rest of this season.
Iverson, who ranks second in franchise history for career scoring, is expected to make his debut in a Sixers uniform on Monday night at the Wachovia Center against the Denver Nuggets.
Sixers president and general manager Ed Stefanski did not comment on terms of the agreement with Iverson, but the contract is for a prorated amount of the $1.3 million veteran's minimum, roughly $600,000 to $650,000, which would become guaranteed for the remainder of the season if Iverson remained on the roster Jan. 10.
In a conference call with reporters, Stefanski said the decision to sign Iverson was purely a basketball one, that the Sixers needed a scoring guard who could replace Lou Williams. Williams is out eight weeks with a broken jaw and is expected to miss at least 30 games.
Stefanski said when he heard Williams' prognosis, "in the opinion of our basketball people and myself, (Iverson) was the best free agent available."
Iverson played 10-plus seasons for the Sixers before being traded to the Nuggets on Dec. 19, 2006. Denver traded Iverson to Detroit in November of last season, and he became a free agent at the end of that season.
Iverson spent most of the off-season without work before Memphis signed him just before the start of the season. However, he complained about having to come off the bench for the Grizzlies, and the team released him Nov. 16 after Iverson played just three games.
Stefanski said Iverson was given no guarantees about being in the starting lineup or playing a set amount of minutes. But he added, "We're not bringing in Allen Iverson to add to our depth, or to be a practice player. He's here to play basketball."
Stefanski said Iverson's representatives have contacted him in the past about the Sixers bringing the 2001 NBA Most Valuable Player back to Philadelphia. The thought became more real after Williams got hurt, he said.
As for the theory the Sixers signed Iverson to boost their low attendance, Stefanski said the signing was strictly for basketball reasons.
"If he can play basketball and help us win and bring the fans in, that would be great," Stefanski said. "To get fans in the building, you have to win basketball games. We're aware of that. We're bringing in Allen Iverson to help us win basketball games, and that will help our attendance."
Stefanski said the move did not take away from the Sixers' long-term plans to build with youth. He called it "low-risk for the organization and high reward."