As I'm sure just about everyone is aware by now, Rasheed Wallace is back. He's back shooting threes that he should not be taking. He's back hitting threes he should not be taking. He's back getting ejected from games within a minute of entering said game for yelling "BALL DON'T LIE" at officials. And he's back doing all of it on the currently 16-5 Knicks (who may very well be 17-5 by the time you read this).
What makes this somewhat incredible is that Wallace retired from basketball following the Celtics Game 7 loss to the Lakers in the 2010 Finals. He retired with 2 years and $12 million dollars left on his deal, money that he could have made by simply showing up to training camp. But instead Wallace left the game, and the money on the table, taking a 28 month hiatus from basketball. And then, just like that, he was back. Signing with the Knicks and somewhat shockingly, becoming a legitimate factor off of their bench.
So far this season Wallace has appeared in 20 of the Knicks 23 games (including the Knicks/Lakers game currently in progress), averaging 7.2 points and 4.2 boards in just under 15 minutes a contest. His per 36 numbers? 17.5 points and 10.3 rebounds. Now I'm not saying he's the reason the Knicks have morphed into contenders, but he's absolutely been a factor for them.
So what am I getting at, you ask? My question is simple: How much did Rasheed Wallace hate playing for the Celtics?
Let's review the facts.
- Wallace showed up woefully out of shape in 2009 after signing a 3 year, $18 million dollar deal with the C's, and then coasted through the regular season.
- He again disappointed in the playoffs, averaging 6 points a game before finally stepping up and playing a good, tough Game 7 against LA while making a start for the injured Kendrick Perkins.
- After the season Wallace retired instead of honoring the final 2 years of his deal. His retirement led to the Celtics signing Jermaine O'Neal. Thanks Rasheed.
- Despite the fact that Wallace retired, the Celtics still had to negotiate a buyout with Sheed, and paid him $491,000 in both 2010-11 and 2011-12. Nearly a million dollars for absolutely nothing.
- After sitting out for two seasons and having his Celtics contract expire, Wallace decided to come back - and actually got in shape for it. Not great shape for an NBA player mind you, but his body fat percentage looks like it slipped below 30% at least.
- Wallace came back for the Knicks, one of the Celtics chief rivals in the Atlantic, and has played a small, although not inconsequential, role for them as they have stormed to the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Was Rasheed just burnt out after the 2010 Finals after a 15 year NBA career? Possibly. Did he simply decide to come back for the Knicks because of his great relationship with Mike Woodson? Could be it. Does his current revival somewhat irritate me after the Celtics paid him $982,000 over a two year span to sit on his ass? Why yes it does.
Thing is I really did like Sheed for most of his career. Rooted for him and the '04 Pistons like crazy when they matched up with the Lakers, and was pumped when the C's signed him in '09. But some things can not be forgiven. And being the reason that the Celtics signed Jermaine O'Neal is one of them.
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Michael Dyer 12/13/2012 10:24:00 PM Tweet Edit