With the confusing series of Boston moves today that turned their front line from one of the league’s best to a question mark, a lot of people in Boston are asking what Danny Ainge has up his sleeve. They are asking:
What about Rasheed Wallace?
He walked away after the NBA finals Game 7 last season — a game in which he was one of the best players for Boston — but he never moved out of Boston. He didn’t want to put up with the rigors of a full NBA season, but if it was just 20-something games and the playoffs….
But Sheed told Larry Ridley, sports anchor at the NBC 7 affiliate in Boston, that he “gave 15 years” to the NBA was not coming back. At all.
So Celtics fans, set your sights on Troy Murphy. Then light some candles in church and say some prayers for Shaq’s health.
Rasheed Wallace is going to be like Elvis this year. Jim Morrison. Tupac.
He will not be dead and there will be sightings of him — and the return of his career — all over the place. Particularly Boston, as Sheed will still be living in the city.
The first one of those came from Paul Pierce, who had Sheed at his youth camp, as reported by Sherrod Blakely at Comcast New England:
You can count Pierce among those who thinks a Wallace return to the Celtics will happen sometime prior to the playoffs, despite Wallace insisting that he’s done playing.
“I told him, ‘Go ahead, do all you need to do,’ ” Pierce said. ” ‘Take the kids everywhere. We’ll see you in February.’ “
Maybe Pierce was joking, but Sheed was serious. From that same article.
When asked by CSNNE.com about whether his NBA career was indeed wrapped up, Wallace responded, “Like Christmas.”
Don’t you unwrap presents on Christmas? So…
No trade. No return. Both teams played hard, my man. Both teams played hard.
But Rasheed Wallace is done.
This afternoon the Boston Celtics waived Rasheed Wallace, clearing the way for his retirement.
Sheed was drafted by the Washington Bullets with the No. 4 pick overall out of North Carolina in 1995. Over 15 NBA seasons he averaged 14.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, a big man with range. He had a career PER of 17.0, was a four-time All Star (most recently 2008).
He was at the heart of the 2004 Detroit Pistons title team.
More than that, he will be remembered for being a guy who played the game with real passion, with his heart on his sleeve. That led to countless technical fouls, conversations with referees and jawing matches with opposing players.
He was the quintessential guy you hated if he was on the other team and loved him if he was on yours. The league needs more guys with that passion. He will be missed.
Shaq’s recruitment wasn’t enough.
Rasheed Wallace’s agent has told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe that Sheed is going to retire.
Doc Rivers first brought up the idea right after Game 7 of the NBA finals, saying Sheed had not enjoyed dragging his body through a long season and a host of nagging injuries last year. After that, reports varied from retiring to not, but he was clearly vacillating. Last year may have bothered him, but walking away from a team so close to a title is not easy.
Wallace has apparently reached peace with the decision.
The Celtics may still trade Wallace. Wallace is owned two years, $13 million by the Celtics (which also would be hard to walk away from). With confirmation that he would retire, other teams may be willing to trade for him to save money (make the trade, buy him out at a greatly reduced amount, he files for retirement and you get a big cap savings).
But however it does down, Wallace appears to be done as a player. And that makes the league a little less colorful and a little more boring.
Rasheed Wallace is on the fence about retirement — last year was physically hard for him, but the chance to come back with a team to make one more run at a title has to be a big temptation.
Shaquille O’Neal — the newest member of the Celtics frontcourt, told Comcast Sports New England he wants him back.
“I know Rasheed is thinking about coming back,” said O’Neal, who was in attendance at a charity basketball game in Orlando, Fla. “Rasheed, go on and come back for one or two more years.”
Players always want more good players on their team — but Boston’s frontcourt is already pretty crowded.
Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal will be your starters. Shaq will come in off the bench for the other O’Neal, Glen Davis will spell KG. So in that scenario, there are already pretty limited minutes for Sheed, but there are some. However, how many shots are there for him? Not many.
Then what happens when Kendrick Perkins returns around the All-Star Game? Wallace would be cut back heavily.
The Celtics would love to have Sheed back in that role (even the fans seem willing to take him back in a more limited role than he had last year). But does Sheed himself want to chase a ring largely as a spectator for a year? Would he be happy with the limited minutes and role he would have? That’s the question only he can answer and would guide his return.