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.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.