Sports/Olympics / Basketball

Allen Iverson: 'I want to be a Sixer'
(AP)
Updated: 2006-07-17 08:33

WASHINGTON - Despite the persistent trade speculation, Allen Iverson said Friday he wants to stay with the Philadelphia 76ers but only if they want him.

"I want to be a Sixer, I have said that since Day 1," Iverson said at a news conference to promote his annual charity softball event. "But if I am not wanted, then I definitely don't want to be a Sixer and I am willing to start my career all over."

The 76ers failed to make the playoffs last season. Almost immediately, speculation began that Iverson, who has spent his 10-year career in Philadelphia, would be dealt. Iverson said he isn't upset with all the talk.

"It's a business. I have some value," Iverson said. "We didn't make the playoffs last year, and when something like that happens, you feel like you got to do something. I don't know why it has to be me, but I guess I have that type of value.

"It's just tough everywhere you go, no matter where in the world, people ask you that same question. I am used to it, but I am also tired of it. Sometimes I even think leaving might not be such a bad thing because I might not have to deal with this every summer. My kids might not have to deal with this, might wife might not have to deal with this. I honestly want to be a Sixer. "

Iverson, a seven-time All-Star, was second in the league in scoring last season, averaging a career-best 33.0 points. Kevin Garnett of Minnesota is the only active player who has been with his team longer than Iverson.

Addressing one theory, Iverson said the 76ers' struggles weren't from a lack of chemistry between him and Chris Webber.

"This year everyone talked about Chris and myself not being able to mesh, but we ended up being the highest scoring duo in the league, so obviously we meshed together but there just wasn't the other pieces that we needed," Iverson said. "We didn't get it done as far as stopping people. It makes me feel kind of bad that I had a strong season and we didn't make the playoffs."

Iverson had no preference for a destination team if the 76ers do trade him.

"As long they don't send me to the CBA, I'll play for any team," he said.