A trade that would have sent disgruntled guard Allen Iverson to the Charlotte Bobcats died Monday when Iverson indicated his displeasure with the deal, a source told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday.
The Philadelphia 76ers guard has been inactive for the last three games after asking for a trade. The Sixers, on an eight-game losing streak, are reportedly looking to close a deal soon and have made the divorce all but final: they have cleaned out Iverson's locker and removed his highlights from the pre-game highlight reel shown at home games.
The Inquirer reported that a source indicated Iverson's trade demand did not include limitations on where he was sent. But that apparently did not include the Bobcats (5-15), who have struggled on the floor and at the box office since joining the NBA in 2004.
Bobcats coach/general manager Bernie Bickerstaff on Tuesday denied the report.
"That is the biggest crap I have ever seen," Bickerstaff said, according to NBA.com. "It didn't even come into play. So there is no response to that."
The Charlotte Observer quoted Bickerstaff as saying the team was never close to a deal to acquire Iverson, and that the Bobcats only offered salary-cap room as an aid to the Sixers. Basically, they'd be working as a third team to make a trade work.
The Bobcats, however, would make a logical trading partner, largely because they are an NBA-high $15 million under the salary cap. Outside of a core of young players the team wants to build around, including Emeka Okafor, Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton and Adam Morrison, the Bobcats have players with contracts that expire in the next two years, including Brevin Knight, Melvin Ely, Othella Harrington and Primoz Brezec.
A source told ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan that the Sixers appear determined to avoid the spectacle of prolonged trade talks that dogged the Indiana Pacers when Ron Artest demanded to be dealt last season. That dragged on for seven weeks before Artest was was dealt to Sacramento for Peja Stojakovic.
Bickerstaff said the club would be a willing facilitator for the Sixers in a trade "in any way that we can." Such a situation has not been presented to the Bobcats.
"If it would benefit us some way, if we could help them, then we would be happy to be a facilitator," Bickerstaff said. "We thought we would put that out there to him."