Allen Iverson expected to sign with Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies today released the following statement from General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace.

“The Memphis Grizzlies have agreed in principle to enter into an agreement with free agent guard Allen Iverson. We anticipate signing him to a contract very soon.”

According to the New York Times the deal is a one-year contract for about $3.5 million.

SEPTEMBER 10 UPDATE: The Memphis Grizzlies signed guard Allen Iverson, one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

“We are excited to announce the signing of Allen Iverson,” Wallace said. “He is one of the all-time great guards in the history of the NBA.  This is a great day for the Grizzlies organization, our loyal fans and the city of Memphis.”

A four-time NBA scoring champion and a 10-time NBA All-Star (2000-09), Iverson ranks second among active players in career scoring behind the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Shaquille O’Neal and 16th in NBA history with 23,983 career points.

The 2000-01 NBA Most Valuable Player holds career averages of 27.1 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.22 steals in 41.4 minutes in 886 career games (877 starts) over 13 seasons (1996-09) with the Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers, who originally selected him with the first overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft.

Iverson’s career scoring average ranks fifth all-time behind Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and the 2008-09 NBA MVP LeBron James. One of only four players in NBA history to capture the league’s scoring title four times (1998-99, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2004-05), joining Jordan (10), Chamberlain (7) and George Gervin (4), Iverson places fourth all-time in 40-plus point games (79) and sixth all-time in 50-plus point games (11). He scored a career-high 60 points on Feb. 12, 2005 vs. the Orlando Magic as a member of the 76ers.

The 6-0, 165-pound guard’s extensive list of awards and honors include the NBA Rookie of the Year (1997), All-NBA First Team (1999, 2001, 2005), All-NBA Second Team (2000, 2002, 2003), All-NBA Third Team (2006), NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (2001, 2005) and NBA Rookie Game Most Valuable Player (1997).

Most recently, Iverson split the 2008-09 season with Denver and Detroit, averaging 17.5 points, 5.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 36.7 minutes in 57 games (53 starts). The Pistons acquired the 34-year-old from the Nuggets in exchange for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb on Nov. 3, 2008. Iverson will face his former team in the Grizzlies’ 2009-10 regular season opener at FedExForum on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The former Georgetown standout also ranks fourth all-time in career minutes per game (41.4), 12th in career steals (1,964) and is the only player in NBA history to lead the league in steals per game in three consecutive seasons (2000-03). Iverson also owns 134 career double-doubles (one in every 6.6 career games).

The Hampton, Va. native enjoyed his most successful season in 2000-01, when Iverson led the 76ers to the Eastern Conference Championship and a berth in the NBA Finals for the first time since the 1982-83 season. During his MVP campaign, Iverson averaged a league-leading 31.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 42.0 minutes in 71 games (all starts).

Iverson, who has helped lead his team to the postseason in nine of his 13 seasons, ranks second all-time in NBA playoffs history in points per game (29.7) and 40-plus scoring games (10), while ranking seventh in steals per game (2.07).

The addition of Iverson gives the Grizzlies an NBA-high four players on their roster who averaged at least 17.0 points per game during the 2008-09 season (Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, Zach Randolph).

The roster currently stands at 15 players.