Let me just go on record as a little bit unsure why the Celtics seem so eager to trade for Allen Iverson. It’s not like you look at this team and say “if only they had a top-notch perimeter scorer they’d be pretty good” it’s more like “if only they had something in addition to their top-notch perimeter scorer they’d be pretty good.” That said, if they can get Iverson for Theo Ratliff’s contract plus some “promising” youngsters, the team would pretty clearly improve. But if Philadelphia wants Wally Szczerbiak, rather than Ratliff, in addition to picks/youngsters I’m not sure how much better the Celtics really get. Szczerbiak produces less than Iverson, obviously, but he does what he does considerably more efficiently. If you imagine Iverson taking roughly the same volume of shots he does for the Sixers and those shots replacing both Szczerbiak’s and those of the Celtics’ backcourt laggards you’ll see an overall improvement, but it would be a small one all things considered and for a team at Boston’s level to I’m not sure why you’d want to mortgage the future for a marginal improvement.
UPDATE: IC also writes in to remark on the seeming irrationality of Philadelphia not wanting to offer the Answer to an in-conference or (worse) in-division rival. As he points out, this is not the best thing to worry about if your team sucks and is all-but-guaranteed to get worse as a result of the trade you’re about to make. The post-Iverson Sixers need to be thinking about the long term, not who wins the sorry 2006–2006 Atlantic Division.