Thanks to Jared Shafran, here are some highlights from the Rasheed Wallace press conference from this afternoon:
Rasheed Wallace: I just want to thank all the guys sitting up here on stage, because they didn’t have to come up here today and show their team compassion about having me here in the city of Boston and playing with them.
Q: Why did you come to Boston?
RW: Because I felt that it was a good fit. I think one of the main things that the guys up here do is play defense. They’ve been one and two over the last few years in the defensive categories, so that’s saying a lot about their defense, that’s saying a lot about them, and their whole team scheme and the bottom line is just to win. That pretty much swayed me to come over here and they are a pretty good group of guys. Every time I’ve played against them, I’ve always been on the floor talking to them or joshin’ with them but now I think it will be extra good that we’re all teammates.
Q: What does it mean to have these guys here?
RW: It was definitely great. As soon as I came around the corner into the conference room and to see these three guys there, that I wasn’t expecting. That showed a lot. That showed me that they really want me to be apart of this team. They opened their arms for me and my family to be apart of their Boston Celtic family.
Kevin Garnett: I’m really excited about the year. This is not only a key addition but a major addition to our team. Almost feels like AAU basketball all over again. We’re make the best of this.
Paul Pierce: Obviously we had depth issues last year because of injuries, but just bringing a guy like Rasheed in with experience. I think it fits in just like a piece in a puzzle. Everybody knows what we’re about and that’s winning a championship.
Ray Allen: When the season ended for us we talked about things that we needed to do for the summertime. Rasheed was at the top of the list for all of us. When the opportunity came for us to be in Detroit that day, we knew everything that we needed to do to get there. He was the one guy that was going to get us over the hump moving into the future. We wanted him and his family to know how serious we were about winning and we’re glad to have him.
Q: How tough was it transitioning from Detroit to Boston?
RW: I think this worked out for both of us. They wanted someone of my caliber and vice versa. They saw the frustration on my face some times last year. Now it’s a whole new day and I cant wait until training camp to get it going.
Q: How do you see your role in Boston?
RW: I would say my role is to back up these guys. If Doc wants me to start, then I’ll start. If Doc wants me to come off the bench, then that’s fine I’ll come off the bench. As long as I’m contributing to the team for the W. My thing is bottom line is to win games. I think with the mindset of these guys here, we’ll win a lot of ball games.
Q: Can you describe the relationship between you and Kevin?
RW: I would have to say it probably started on draft night. He was in Minnesota and I was in Portland. It was a battle. I don’t think too many people knew what type of battle it was. It was really the mutual respect. I would say he’s a better rebounder but I’m a better jump shot shooter. Everything else is the same as far as the heart and adrenaline going into the game and wanting to win, everything else is the same except for those two.
Q: What was your thought process about where you might go, and when did the Celtics come into your thought process?
RW: The first couple of days I had a couple of scenarios, I was thinking San Antonio, Dallas, Boston, Cleveland, and Orlando. Those were my top teams that I was thinking about. I didn’t make no decisions for awhile. I just sat back, took advantage of the time, did things with my family and just took it day by day. When this all came up, then that’s when the guys came out there. I talked it over with my wife, talked it over with my kids, and made my decision.
Q: Who’s more intense? You or KG?
RW: I would have to say I am, because he can control his emotions. Of course, everyone knows my history as far as technical fouls. I don’t think you can match the intensity that either of us brings to the floor.
Q: What made it that you didn’t want to go anywhere else?
RW: Just the overall view of the team. Looking at the bench, looking at these guys and the things that they’ve accomplished here in the last few years. Not taking anything away from San Antonio, I would have to say a few of the changes that they made didn’t sit with me too well. I had to go to the best place where I felt as though it was a good fit for myself.
Q: Could you talk about the feeling of winning a championship and how important it is for you to get it back?
RW: It’s a wonderful feeling being king of the hill. No matter if teams or other guys like you or not, they’ve got to respect you because you’re the champ. I was upset when these guys won it but when they beat up on us when I was in Detroit, that’s part of it. It’s a whole new day right now, and we’re just excited.
Q: What did the guys tell you about being in this city?
RW: They definitely said it’s a sports town — not just basketball, but a sports town. They said that bottom line, the fans got your back. When I was playing against these guys, I heard all the remarks so now, hopefully those frowns will turn into some cheers now that we’re all on the same team.
Q: Do you make a conscious effort to control your technical fouls?
RW: For the most part, I don’t think my past teammates see it as a problem. Yes, I go off sometimes, I will admit that, but overall, I would say that I’m a pretty good teammate.