Iverson on postseason roster, won't play

Updated: April 16, 2009, 8:08 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Allen Iverson's name will appear on the Detroit Pistons' playoff roster ... but that's only because league rules mandate Iverson's inclusion.

The NBA requires the 16 playoff teams to submit a roster including no less than 13 players by 3 p.m. Thursday. The Pistons must add Iverson because they only have 13 players under contract, two short of the league's permitted roster maximum of 15 players.

But Pistons president Joe Dumars reiterated Wednesday via e-mail that Iverson's leave from the team -- granted on April 3 after Dumars and Iverson met to address the 33-year-old's increasing frustration with a reserve role -- will remain in effect for the duration of Detroit's stay in the playoffs. Iverson becomes a free agent July 1 and is not expected back in Detroit.

The Pistons, seeded eighth in the East, meet the 66-win Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. Teams are required to name 12 active players per game from the playoff roster, meaning that Iverson will be listed as Detroit's lone inactive player in every game after leaving the team last week.

Iverson missed 16 games between Feb. 27 and March 28 after complaining about back pain. He returned for three games starting March 29 but averaged just 7.7 points in 18.7 minutes off the Pistons' bench. He responded to an April 1 loss at New Jersey by telling reporters that he'd "rather retire before I do this again."

"I can't be effective playing this way," Iverson said that night. "I'm not used to it. It's tough for me both mentally and physically."

Iverson wound up averaging just 17.4 points in 54 games for the Pistons after his trade from Denver a week into the season, marking the first time in Iverson's 13-season career that he failed to score in the 20s.

The Pistons, though, traded Iverson more for his $20.8 million expiring contract and the minutes second-year guard Rodney Stuckey inherited from the outgoing Chauncey Billups than his ability to help Detroit remain among the East/s elite, although Dumars was initially hopeful that the gamble could work for a season after coveting Iverson for years and nearly acquiring him from Philadelphia in 2000.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.

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Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics