|Rasheed Wallace rumors start again||01.11.11 at 11:47 am ET|
Stephen A. Smith went on the Dan Patrick show and said that Rasheed Wallace told him the plan was for Wallace to come out of retirement and join the Celtics at some point this season. Naturally this has started the Sheed will come back rumor again, but there are several problems with this scenario.
First, Wallace’s agent Bill Strickland told Fanhouse’s Sam Amick that his client hasn’t changed his mind about his retirement (although Strickland did use the disclaimer, “for now.”) Second, Smith himself backtracked from the original claim saying Wallace told him he would return “months ago.”
So, there’s not even smoke on this latest rumor, but even if Wallace did want to return to the Celtics, there are compelling reasons to believe that it won’t happen.
1. There is no room for Wallace figuratively
The Celtics have four centers — Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal, Semih Erden and Kendrick Perkins, who is expected to practice this week and has announced himself close to returning. All four have had injuries this season, which is why Danny Ainge has four centers on the roster.
Two weeks ago on The Big Show, Ainge said this about a possible Wallace comeback:
“I know that he’s been in the locker room a couple of times this year and he’s been to a couple of practices. I know the guys are teasing him about that about coming back. He’s said that doesn’t want to come back. I’m not sure there’s room for Rasheed unless we just have a whole bunch of injuries. Right now our center position, we have three healthy centers, we have a fourth one that’s not too far away in Perk.” (Emphasis mine).
Ainge also said that he’s more concerned about his backcourt, which truly hinges on the health of Delonte West. The Celtics have come to the conclusion that Nate Robinson is not a viable candidate to replace Rajon Rondo should anything happen to him, which leaves West. The Celtics have centers. What concerns them is the depth at guard.
2. There is no room for Wallace literally
The Celtics have 15 players under guaranteed contracts. The deadline to release Von Wafer (and West) without having to pay them for the rest of the season has come and gone, which means that in order for the Celtics to add a player (like Wallace), someone would have to go either by trade or outright release.
Looking at the roster it would seem that adding another veteran big man is way down on their list of concerns.
3. The Celtics don’t view Wallace as a viable replacement for Kevin Garnett
Garnett isn’t likely to play Wednesday, but Doc Rivers insists that it’s only a matter of time and he is very close to getting back on the court. They also insist that Garnett’s injury is a muscle strain and has nothing to do with his knee.
Assuming that is the case, suppose Garnett suffers a more serious injury at some point, would adding Wallace make more sense? In a word, no.
In 2009-10 Wallace rarely played any position other than center. When he did play alongside Perkins up front, the Celtics weren’t very good, and Rivers even said that he didn’t like playing the two of them together.
In sum: If one of the O’Neals suffered a season-ending injury and if Perkins isn’t able to make a full recovery from knee surgery, then there might be a fit for Wallace if he even wanted to come back. But that’s a lot of ifs.
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