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Clippers hear from 76ers about Iverson

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Times Staff Writer

The Clippers are among the teams the Philadelphia 76ers have contacted about Allen Iverson, proposing a multiplayer trade that would include Corey Maggette to bring the disgruntled star guard to Los Angeles, multiple team sources said Tuesday night.

It appears unlikely, however, that the Clippers would complete a deal for Iverson unless the 76ers softened their demand that Shaun Livingston be part of the trade. Also, it would force Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling to scrap his long-term salary-cap strategy because of Iverson’s hefty salary.

Minnesota, Denver and Boston are among the others said to be interested in Iverson.

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Iverson, a seven-time All-NBA player, on Tuesday indicated his displeasure with a proposed deal involving the Charlotte Bobcats, a source told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings are among the Clippers’ Pacific Division rivals who could make offers to Philadelphia, a Western Conference player-personnel executive said.

The Clippers are willing to include Maggette as the centerpiece of a proposal for Iverson -- the NBA’s most valuable player in 2001 -- and another of Philadelphia’s perimeter players who could contribute in the Clippers’ rotation, the team sources said. The 76ers, however, are determined to acquire Livingston in a trade -- and that’s a deal-breaker for the Clippers.

The Clippers have told the 76ers that Elton Brand, Chris Kaman and Livingston are not available. But other team members were included in the discussions.

The Clippers initially called the 76ers to gauge their interest in Maggette, whose agent, Rob Pelinka, recently asked the Clippers to trade the seven-year veteran, sources said. The 76ers then steered the conversation toward Iverson.

Maggette has averaged at least 20 points a game in two seasons. He volunteered to come off the bench this season and is averaging 14.1 points, but his minutes have dropped from 29.5 a game last season to 25.6 this season -- his fewest in six seasons.

Maggette has not publicly expressed dissatisfaction with his role, but Pelinka apparently believes Maggette could contribute more with another team. The Clippers are trying to accommodate Maggette, sources said, but won’t make a move unless it benefits them too.

In the off-season, the Clippers rejected the 76ers’ proposal of trading Iverson for Maggette and Livingston, and Clippers officials Tuesday reiterated their unwillingness to send the fourth-year, 6-foot-7 point guard to Philadelphia, even for a four-time league scoring champion. The Clippers plan to offer Livingston a multiyear contract extension in the summer.

For trade talks to intensify with Philadelphia, however, Sterling would have to get onboard about the team’s future payroll structure. Iverson has a salary of $17.1 million this season. He’s owed $19 million next season and $20.8 million in 2008-09. The 10-year veteran has the right to terminate the final year of his contract and become a free agent.

Although Sterling has made a commitment to winning with his checkbook recently, the basketball operations staff has been instructed to work under the luxury tax. The Clippers are over the salary cap this season but not at the luxury-tax threshold.

It would be impossible for the Clippers to avoid paying the tax if they traded for Iverson, sources said, because of his contract and other guaranteed multiyear deals on the books.

If Sterling approved a major shift in the payroll philosophy, Maggette could be moved in other potential trades.

Dunleavy’s contract situation could be another factor in the team’s trade plans. The Clippers weeks ago agreed to pay Dunleavy about $5.6 million a season in a four-year extension, but the parties have not completed the deal, sources said. After recently reaching an agreement on Dunleavy’s playoff bonuses, talks stalled on the amount of deferred money in the contract.

Andy Roeser, executive vice president, recently said the Clippers made an “extraordinary” offer to Dunleavy and expressed confidence “it’s all going to work out fine.” But Roeser and Dunleavy’s agent, Warren LeGarie, have reached a critical point in the process, sources from both sides said.

If a deal isn’t reached in the next few days, both sides would wait until after the season to revisit the situation. That might be risky for the team, considering Dunleavy could be on the short list of many teams seeking coaches in the off-season.

In addition to his coaching, Dunleavy has had significant input in personnel decision, the primary reason Sterling is willing to increase Dunleavy’s guaranteed salary by about $4 million a season for the length of the new contract. Of course, there’s no guarantees Dunleavy would receive a better offer elsewhere.


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