NEW YORK — Allen Iverson, who will miss the rest of the season with a “back injury” that sidelined him for 16 games, said he would rather retire at season’s end than come off the bench for 17 minutes per game.

Retirement is apt to come a month or so earlier than Iverson expects. I can’t see Joe Dumars subjecting Pistons coach Michael Curry to any additional public squawks from the extinguishing superstar, especially in defeat.

When Iverson’s expiring contract was acquired (still a good idea in my book) from the Nuggets for Chauncey Billups, Iverson said all the right things.

Meanwhile, as usual, he’s having a terrible time dealing with adversity when it’s directed toward him.

How many championship contenders/pretenders will be the least bit tempted to invest any significant scratch this summer on an unmanageable free agent (34 on June 7), who doesn’t like to come out of games, doesn’t like to come off the bench, suffer severe back pain when things go wrong, and has roughly played 36,000 career minutes?

Other than Phil Jackson and Pat Riley and Isiah Thomas, of course, who else would think they can control him?

If Iverson’s unable to accept being demoted to a “strole” (Mo Williams’ term for someone who’s half a star and half a role player) he appears to have exhausted his options.

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You think LeBron and the Ohio Players might be a bit overexposed?

After pistol-whipping the visiting Mavericks last Sunday (ABC), they showed up on TNT Wednesday night in D.C. against the Wizards (so long 13-game win streak), then got routed in Orlando on ESPN, and Sunday beat the Spurs at home on ABC.

This just in: The Cavs have pre-empted the Obamas.

Speaking of the president, did you feel the excitement of the G20 summit?

Sources say, when it came to the world’s economic condition, all the leaders wanted to pass the buck . . . but no one had one.

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Either Don Nelson, who occasionally coaches the Warriors of late when assistant Keith Smart is busy, wants to get fired or he’s again angling to re-sign Chris Webber.

If you were otherwise detained — or, more likely, just didn’t care — Golden State was a 143-141 OT winner against Sacramento last Wednesday night . . . this despite Kevin Martin outscoring Monta Ellis, 50-42.

In other Warriors news, Stephen Jackson shall miss the all-important last two weeks of the season following bone spurs removal from his left foot.

Jackson, who averaged career best of 20.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 59 games, plans to convalesce at Corie Blount’s house.

Hey, I doubt the fuzz could have found it all.

The aptly-named Blount, 40, was arrested Dec. 4, after the police confiscated 5 kg of marijuana sent to him at a relative’s home. They found another 8 kg of glorious ganja after searching Corie’s aromatic abode.

Some players demand more time, others crave a reduced amount. A guilty plea to two felonies in an Ohio court may have earned Blount a 10-year guarantee in the pokey.

Coincidentally, his plea deal ran concurrently with the league’s first-ever Green Week.

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The Lakers are frustrated with Andrew Bynum.

When Rick Fox got injured toward the end of his career, he would travel with the team, go to practice, whatever. Both times Bynum has been hurt he has gone off by himself with little to no communication.

Evidently, he’s about to be placed back on active duty, reports column conscience Geoffrey Gilbert, “because he just got clearance to compete full-court workouts with Miss April. After seeing his picture with that Playmate wrapped around his neck, we know he can shoulder the load.”

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How bad have the Knicks become?

Dick Cheney was recently seen outside Madison Square Garden hawking bumper stickers saying, “I Would Rather Be Waterboarding.”

As bad as it is watching this team (and several before it) I did have the honor of seeing an opening lineup of Al Butler, Donnis Butcher, Dave Budd, Cleveland Buckner (scored 36, as I recall in Wilt’s 100-point game) and Darrall Imhoff.

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The European League will hold its Final Four in Berlin next month. The second level EuroCup holds its Elite Eight in Turin, Italy, this month.

Marc Gasol was in the Elite Eight of the EuroCup last year in Turin. Rudy Fernandez was MVP and Ricky Rubio was the team’s costar.

Peter Vecsey covers the NBAfor the New York Post.

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