The Links: Iverson Wants Out? Plus Mike James and Suns/Nets.

by Lang Whitaker

Fri-day! Yes!

Whew. What a game. You heard the Nets and Suns went completely wild last night, right? And you probably already read our game notes from our night out in Jersey at the game, right?

I’m still kind of pumped up from it today. As soon as the game ended, Ben and I started walking toward the locker room and we bumped into Mark Jackson and Peter Vecsey, and the four of us just kind of stood there going, Wow. Sam asked me this morning if it was the best game I’ve ever seen in person, and I can’t say that it was — best I’ve ever seen in person was Game Five of the 2005 Finals in Detroit, when Robert Horry went crazy and shot the Spurs past the Pistons. Last night was just a regular season game with nothing really at stake. But this was obviously the highest-scoring game I’ve ever seen in person. It was the fourth-highest scoring game in the history of the NBA. So since 1946, only three games have combined for more points.

The crazy thing was that it wasn’t like a battle or a heavyweight title fight, it was like a flyweight title flight — there weren’t knockout punches being thrown, because neither team ever felt like they were out of it, so it was like tons and tons of jabs going back and forth, back and forth.

There’s a part in Jack McCallum’s Suns book where he’s talking about the way the Suns play, and Lawrence Frank is quoted. Frank likens playing the Suns to playing riding in the passenger seat of a car when the driver is going 75 miles an hour, meaning there’s not a lot of control involved there. But give the Nets this: They tried to run with the Suns last night. Just couldn’t pull it off.

The big story today comes from Vecsey, but we’ll get to that momentarily. Let’s hit The Links…

“I love answering questions. I don’t think I have all the answers to every question, but I believe there is a solution to every question. One thing I’ve learned in life is never ever make excuses about life. Life is going to be whatever you make it. I hold myself accountable for everything I do. I basically just try to tell people, just hold yourself accountable. Because at the end of the day, don’t ever think you can hide anything from yourself or God. Because even if you’re in your deepest, darkest cloud, you still see what you’re doing, and God still sees what you’re doing.” — Mike James, on his new SLAM column.

“I am blogging now. I am a blogger.” — Jerry Stackhouse.

“(The Heat) are a bunch of Tito Jacksons without Shaq…except for (Dwyane) Wade, he’s Janet, he can survive on his own.” — Charles Barkley.

“If those three (Mike Bibby, Ron Artest and Brad Miller) play great all year, Sacramento still stinks.” — Barkley.

“Having Vince in the game was asinine. That’s a coaching loss. Write it. That’s the right thing. I just totally screwed the team. That was just 100 percent as bad a coaching as you can do at the end.” — Lawrence Frank.

• According to Peter Vecsey, Allen Iverson has asked to be traded in Philly, although the Viper adds the caveat that Iverson would be willing to stay if Mo Cheeks is canned. The question is, which team could/would take Iverson?

A few weeks ago, I found myself deep in an off-the-record conversation with an NBA owner. (All I can tell you is that it wasn’t Mark Cuban.) This owner told me that when Iverson was being offered up last summer, his team sat down to think about it. And while they understood that getting Iverson practically guarantees a sell-out every night, so financially he could be very worthwhile, they couldn’t figure out how to make it work from a basketball perspective.

And I think that remains the biggest problem with acquirring AI: Where does he fit? Vecsey offers up some possible destinations, including Indiana and Boston.

But can you imagine if Iverson was on the Suns? They might average 140 a night.

• I haven’t mentioned it much here, but for SLAM 106 we’re dropping a completely redesigned magazine, something we’ve been working here for almost a year. And one of the ideas we had way back when we started working on the redesign (or the remix, as we called it around here) was to give Mike James a column, particularly after his starring turn on SLAM radio back in the spring (audio from that is here).

So, in the remix issue comes the official Mike James SLAM column. The St. Paul Pioneer Press is all over it. And a big thanks to Mike and his folk for staying patient through all of this as we worked on the new and improved SLAM.
• It’s cute to hear Lawrence Frank take the blame for the loss last night, but it would be better if sometimes he’d admit that some of his players just aren’t very good.

• Carmelo Anthony isn’t blaming Andre Miller, but he does say he was wide open at the end of the Atlanta game.

• Mike Fisher goes crazy about the Mavs.

• Jeff Van Gundy says he doesn’t want to hear that your voice mail is full.

• Do the Bulls owe their success to Cliff Robinson?

• Marvin Williams returns tonight in L.A. against the Lakers, where the Hawks always seem to play well.

• Probably not a good thing that Andrea Bargnani is having back problems, right?

• Steve Francis is going to visit the chilling list.

• Finally, Jerry Sloan goes for win 1,000 tonight. John Stockton and Karl Malone have good memories here.