Coach Mike Woodson basically begged Rasheed Wallace to come out of retirement and play for the Knicks this season — and for 20 games it worked. He averaged 7.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game giving them solid play off the bench and letting Tyson Chandler and other bigs get some rest. He yelled “ball don’t lie” and picked up technical.
But then came the foot surgery and it looked like he was done for the season. As the Knicks made roster moves throughout the season they continued to say Wallace was safe and he was — they never waived him even as they sent Kurt Thomas out to sign Solomon Jones to provide some depth for the front line.
But it didn’t work out.
Wednesday morning the Knicks announced Rasheed Wallace is retiring from the NBA. Again.
But this time he means it. This was his call, not the organization pushing him in any way.
Wallace had an impressive career, one that included a ring as a key player for the 2004 Pistons He was one of the NBA’s more entertaining and unpredictable personalities.
As for the Knicks, nothing really changes as they have been without him for a while. They have signed center Earl Barron, who started with the Wizards this season but was waived a couple days before Christmas and has been out of the league since. He’s just a body, however.
They just need to get Chandler, Kenyon Martin and ideally Marcus Camby back for the playoffs and they could make a deep run this season.
Report: Derrick Rose away from Cavaliers, evaluating his future in basketball
Rose has been out with what seemed like a relative minor, for him at least, ankle injury. The 29-year-old could stick in the league for a while thanks to his reputation and ability to attack the rim to create shots for himself. But the guard is a shell of peak form after years of more serious injuries. This isn’t the career anyone expected for him when he was named the youngest MVP ever in 2011.
The Suns made Mike James – a 27-year-old rookie on a two-way contract – their starting point guard.
Though he eventually ceded the role to Tyler Ulis, James – the only player on a two-way contract to start an NBA game – is still a rotation regular. He’s an aggressive defender and possesses plenty of offensive moves.
The problem: Unless demoted to Phoenix’s minor-league affiliate before then, he’ll max out the 45 allowable NBA days for a two-way player Dec. 6.
We’d still like to get him on the 15-man roster and we’re looking at different ways to do that.
The Suns can unilaterally convert James’ two-contract into a standard one-year minimum deal. Both sides could also negotiate a longer contract.
The bigger issue is clearing a roster spot.
Phoenix has the maximum 15 players with standard contracts with no obvious cuts. Derrick Jones Jr. doesn’t play much, but the 20-year-old’s athleticism creates intriguing upside. Second-rounder Davon Reed is hurt, though teams rarely cut bait so quickly.
The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.
However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.
“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”
This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.
Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.
Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.