Saturday, August 22, 2009

Panthers gameday, and Allen Iverson?

Panthers notes in a moment. First, have to report that Dime Magazine is posting on its website that Allen Iverson will be joining the Bobcats, with a deal to be announced next week. Mind you, NO ONE from the Bobcats will confirm this to News 14 Carolina.

I find this iffy on a couple of front. First, Iverson is 34, and hardly fits into the "keeping the core young" thoughts. Iverson's better days are behind him. I do think he can still contribute, but there was a reason he was seeing reduced playing time in Detroit after being traded there by Denver.

Second, the Bobcats are still trying to get Raymond Felton inked to a long-term deal. The Bobcats brass (read Michael Jordan), has said all along, re-signing Felton was one of their top priorities this off-season. The sides are still trying to find some common ground to make a multi-year deal a reality.

The thought of Iverson to the Bobcats is plausible on these fronts. First, Larry Brown LOVES him. Loves his game, the way A.I. competes, and all that he can contribute. And yes, Brown is long past the "we're talking about practice," rant of Iverson's from years past. Brown has joked about it (even doing so on the day he was introduced as Bobcats Head Coach), but raves about Iverson whenever the player's name is mentioned.

Second, the A.I. to Charlotte talk could simply be a bargaining chip. The team wants to get Felton in, so they throw out a "hey, we're gonna bring in Iverson," line to an internet site. They run with it, and the Bobcats hope it ends up in front of Felton and his agent. It has been known to happen.

I merely bring it up, because the story was tweeted to me, and to ignore such a thing would be wrong. I'm not saying it's true, as I have gotten no confirmation from anyone on it. I'm just saying it's out there.

Panthers-Dolphins pre-game notes:
  • All players made the trip, but not all will play. Guys that have been banged up and missing practices are likely to watch this one in street clothes. That would include players such as RB Jonathan Stewart and LB Thomas Davis among others. WR Steve Smith has practiced this week, but could still be too sore to go with his banged up shoulder. Then again, the coaches may run him out there for a couple of plays, maybe one or 2 balls thrown in his direction, and then shut him down.
  • Things to watch: The WR's not named Steve Smith or Muhsin Muhammad. Guys like Dwayne Jarrett, Kenny Moore, Ryne Robinson, and Larry Beavers will need to show they belong. Moore did that pretty well last week, and Jason Chery had a TD catch against New York. There are still jobs up for grabs at that spot. Someone has to grab them.
  • The first unit offense will see more action tonight, and I expect they will be a little better. Keep in mind, Stewart likely won't play, and if Smith is limited, the offense will look a lot like it did last week. No home run threat at the WR position, and only one half of "Double Trouble." Mike Goodson was dinged this week in practice, but it wasn't thought to be too serious. If he can play, he will. Note to Goodson--keep the invisible knife in your locker stall. That last time your flashed it cost you $7,500 dollars (for his throat-slash gesture).
  • Defensively, again, watch the DT position. Nick Hayden was dinged in practice this week, but should be able to play. The Panthers still need help in that spot, and my bud Darin Gantt from the Rock Hill Herald writes that GM Marty Hurney is out scouting other exhibition games "in search of."
  • Dante Wesley has been seeing some time at the safety spot in practice, a change from his norm of cornerback. Wonder if that has anything to do with how the Panthers wish to structure their 53-man final roster. It's worth noting.

That will do it for now. If you missed the Discount Tire Friday Night Final, you can check out the show in its entirety every Saturday morning at 11am, or just click here to go back to the News 14 website, and check it out there. We'll have another solid line-up of games from across the state next Friday, so don't miss it!

Mike Solarte

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