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Pierce sees great things in Wallace, Celtics 07.09.09 at 8:58 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Paul Pierce has found new life in his step and Rasheed Wallace is the reason why.

Pierce couldn’t help but think back two summers ago when coming off a 24-win season, the Celtics went out and acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, leading to a 66-win, NBA Championship campaign 11 months later.

Pierce was up on the dais with Allen and Garnett and had similar thoughts dancing through his head.

“It started two years with Ray and Kevin and I just think with getting Rasheed, it just gives you an extra boost of energy,” Pierce said. “Even the last few weeks, it’s hard for me to stay out of the gym. I’ve been coming in, working out, picking up the ball here and there. Just making sure that I’m ready for the upcoming season because I’m excited with the moves that we made.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Tune in to live broadcast of Sheed press conference at 1:14 pm ET
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Tune in to WEEI on Thursday at 4pm for a live broadcast of Rasheed Wallace’s introductory press conference with the Celtics during The Big Show. Hear what Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, and Sheed himself have to say about the newest member of the Celtics. Check back to WEEI.com for reaction and analysis. Comcast SportsNet will also broadcast the press conference.

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Celtics sign Rasheed Wallace 07.08.09 at 2:49 pm ET
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On Wednesday the Celtics announced the signing of free agent Rasheed Wallace. Terms of the deal were not disclosed per team policy. However the contract is reported to be two years worth the mid-level of approximately $5.7 or $5.8 million per season.

“We are ecstatic to be able to add a player the caliber of Rasheed Wallace to our team,’€ said Celtics President of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge in a team statement.  ‘€œIt is not every day that you can add a four-time All-Star and a player with championship experience.’€

Update: The Boston Globe has reported Wallace signed a three-year contract with a third-year player option.

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The need for Sheed 07.05.09 at 10:57 pm ET
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Once the Celtics interest in Rasheed Wallace became known, and once the other free agent prizes began to find teams, it became more and more apparent that the Celtics had to get a deal done with Wallace. Not because Cleveland traded for Shaquille O’Neal or because Orlando added Vince Carter, but because Wallace is exactly what the Celtics need, and there is no one else remotely like him available.

The Celtics came into this offseason with three identifiable areas of need: A backup point guard who can run the team competently when Rajon Rondo goes to the bench, a versatile swing man–preferably one who can guard at least two positions, make a jump shot and give Paul Pierce some real rest–and a big man. Already in luxury tax territory and armed with the mid-level exception the Celtics had one big play to make and to that end they wisely stayed out of the limited point guard pool and the big-money small forward arms race. In zeroing in on Wallace, the Celtics identified their biggest need and spent accordingly.

Wallace’s agent, Bill Strickland, made noises during the courtship that a selling point for Wallace was assurances that the Celtics were not done making moves. They still have the bi-annual exception (projected to be around $2 million) and if they can land someone like Grant Hill, that would represent the best-case scenario. But there are still a few solid veterans looking for new homes, like Marquis Daniels, Quinton Ross and Anthony Parker, as well as in-house options like Brian Scalabrine, JR Giddens and Bill Walker. The Celtics have options, in other words.

But landing a quality big man was always the top priority and in Wallace the Celtics not only get an intelligent, versatile veteran who has been on a championship team, they also get something they did not have at all last season: protection in case Kevin Garnett or Kendrick Perkins gets hurt.

Wallace is much more than an insurance policy, however. His offensive game may have gotten a little too perimeter-heavy last season, but his style of play fits perfectly in the Celtics system which rarely utilizes a low-post option. Additionally his ability to guard power forward and centers, particularly centers, is a huge addition for the Celtics who haven’t really had that player during the Big 3 era (except for PJ Brown’s playoff run), and they have had to ask undersized power forwards like Leon Powe and Glen Davis to play out of position.

The Celtics still need a backup point guard and seem content to try to lure one with the veteran minimum like maybe Ty Lue (one of Kevin Garnett’s best friends) and that small forward, but they just solved their biggest offseason problem with the addition of Rasheed Wallace.

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Wallace to sign two-year deal with Celtics at 8:46 pm ET
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Jeff Goodman of WEEI.com and FoxSports.com has learned from a source Rasheed Wallace will sign a two-year deal with the Celtics for the mid-level, which is worth approximately $5.7 or $5.8 million per season. Free agents can sign on July 8.

The Celtics made an aggressive bid for the four-time NBA All-Star when Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and Wyc Grousbeck flew to Michigan to meet with him last week. Wallace had reportedly garnered attention from several championship-contending teams, including the Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs.

Wallace, 34, was selected by the then-Washington Bullets with the fourth pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. Kevin Garnett was selected with the fifth pick. Wallace has a career average of 15.0 points and 6.9 rebounds in over 1,000 games. He currently ranks ninth among all active players in blocks (1375). (Click here to see an example of his recent handiwork against the Celtics.)

Part of Wallace’s appeal is his inside-outside game. Listed as a forward-center, the 6-foot-11 Wallace is also dangerous from long range. Last season he shot 35.4 percent from behind the arc and led the Pistons in three-point shots with 113, just six less than Paul Pierce.

Even more important to the Celtics, he has proven postseason experience. Wallace has advanced to the playoffs in every season since 1997 and averaged 14.6 points and 5.7 rebounds in the postseason. He won the NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. He averaged 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks against the Celtics in the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals.

Wallace has also earned a reputation for being an emotional player. He has been suspended for exceeding the limit of 16 technical fouls in a season.

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Report: Celtics offered Wallace contract 07.02.09 at 4:35 pm ET
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The Celtics have offered Rasheed Wallace a contract using their mid-level exception, according to Marc Spears of the Boston Globe. The contract was reportedly offered during a three-hour meeting in which Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and Wyc Grousbeck traveled to Detroit. Wallace did not make a decision.

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Report: Celtics to meet with Wallace in Michigan at 11:22 am ET
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Comcast SportsNet’s Gary Tanguay has reported Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and Wyc Grousbeck are traveling to Michigan to meet with free agent Rasheed Wallace. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce may join them.

Wallace has garnered interest from several championship contending teams since becoming an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.

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