Sources: Clippers want direct meeting

Updated: July 14, 2009, 1:20 PM ET
By Chris Sheridan | ESPN.com

Before they commit to Allen Iverson for one year, the Los Angeles Clippers want to look him in the eye and ask him about coming off the bench.

Iverson's answer, if the meeting happens, will go a long way toward determining whether "The Answer" will land in Los Angeles for a one-year contract for the midlevel exception of $5.8 million.

lastname
Iverson

Sources told ESPN.com Tuesday that Iverson's agent, Leon Rose, was traveling to Las Vegas to arrange a meeting with the Clippers as the next step in the process of finding a new home for Iverson, the former MVP and four-time scoring champion who is an unrestricted free agent.

The Memphis Grizzlies remained the most viable fallback option for Iverson, with the Grizzlies holding the trump card -- should they choose to play it -- of being able to offer Iverson more money than the Clippers.

Also in the Iverson picture are the Miami Heat, who, like many NBA teams, are waiting this week to see how the fallout from the Paul Millsap offer-sheet signing will affect the free-agent and trade markets going forward.

Utah has until Friday to match Portland's four-year, $34 million offer sheet, and the Blazers could re-enter the market as major cap-space players -- a development that would send ripple effects throughout the league, affecting Lamar Odom, Carlos Boozer and others -- if Utah decides to match.

Memphis is eager to add Iverson for his box-office appeal in a city where the franchise has struggled to tap into the community fan base, though Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley has said he believes Miami is the favorite to end up with Iverson.

As for the Clippers, two sources said one major potential obstacle is whether Iverson would accept a role coming off the bench, and whether the Clippers are convinced he could be effective in a three-guard alignment with starters Baron Davis and Eric Gordon.

But the Clippers' relative lack of depth in the backcourt would offer Iverson additional minutes, and the allure of playing in a large market is a factor that favors both Los Angeles and Miami over Memphis.

One source indicated the Clippers' ongoing efforts to trade Chris Kaman were tangentially impacting their plans, and a second source said Los Angeles -- which tried to acquire Indiana's Jarrett Jack before he signed an offer sheet Monday with Toronto -- also continues to have a strong interest in Milwaukee restricted free-agent point guard Ramon Sessions.

If the Clippers were to exit the Iverson derby, Memphis would be able to outspend Iverson's other main suitor, the Charlotte Bobcats, whose financial flexibility in going after Iverson is restricted by luxury tax concerns.

Chris Sheridan is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.

ALSO SEE