In the middle of a disastrous Pistons season, Ben Wallace had a rebirth, his best season in a long time. Not that anybody noticed because people stopped watching Detroit early on, but he played pretty well.
He played more minutes per game, led the Pistons in rebounds per game, shot at one of the highest percentages of his career, had the team’s best raw +/- numbers (and one of the better adjusted) and generally played a better brand of basketball than we had seen from him since the Pistons championship season.
But he will be 36 next season, has had to fight through his share of injuries and that has him thinking about retirement, he told the Detroit News.
“When I am healthy, I can play this game at a high level night in and night out,” he said. “But sometimes, those knick-knack injuries take so much out of you mentally. Physically, I can handle anything but mentally when you have those injuries, it takes away from your game.”
Pistons general manager Joe Dumars said via text message the team isn’t putting any pressure on Wallace.
“We would like to have him back,” Dumars wrote. “And he’ll let me know when he’s ready to make a decision.”
Wallace, a free agent, made a very reasonable $825,000 last season and even if he came back at about $1 million that would be a steal for the Pistons if he can produce at the same level he did last year. Dumars sounds like — and would be smart to — take that risk on a one-year deal. Other teams may be thinking the same thing.
The only question is if Wallace himself wants to do it.
Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.
But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.
He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.
LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.
Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?
In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.
But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.
Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.
“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”
It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)
With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.
“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”
There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.
It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.
The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.
The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.
Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.
A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.