The decision on if the New York Knicks will keep Rasheed Wallace falls to…
Yup, he gets to decide his own fate according to Marc Berman of the New York Post (and it was confirmed by Sheed’s agent).
The Knicks are willing to take a gamble on 6-foot-11 power forward Rasheed Wallace, who retired two seasons ago after finishing a disappointing one-year stint as a Celtic.
But Wallace, who worked out with Knicks players Saturday at their training facility, still has not decided whether he is willing to dedicate himself to getting himself back in NBA shape at age 38. Clearly, he’s nowhere close now.
When do I get to decide what job I want to take? Because I want to be Phil Keoghan.
I remember talking to Wallace during the finals when he was retiring after the 2010 season (he and the Celtics went to Game 7 with the Lakers), and he still loved the games and being with his teammates, but he was weary of the grind of a long NBA season — the travel, the constant conditioning, the practices and training camps. He’d done it for years, he didn’t have the passion to do it anymore. As a guy who didn’t love the conditioning when he was playing, it’s not a surprise he fell out of NBA shape after he left the league.
After being away for a couple years, does he have that passion back? Ask him. The Knicks have. The ball is in his court, he can play or he can put it down and walk away.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.