Afraid that their relatively brittle and aging frontcourt depth will come back to haunt the team, the New York Knicks have seemingly been linked to every big man on the market in recent weeks.
First it was Kenyon Martin, who seemingly has no interest in playing for the veteran's minimum (via MSG Network's Alan Hahn). Then it was Lou Amundson, who seemingly spurned the team when signing a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves (via The Star-Ledger's Tony Williams).
Now, seemingly desperate to make something happen before training camp opens, the Knicks have turned to retired power forward Rasheed Wallace.
Via the New York Post's Marc Berman:
The Knicks are willing to take a gamble on 6-foot-11 power forward Rasheed Wallace, who retired two seasons ago after finishing a disappointing one-year stint as a Celtic.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who was on Larry Brown’s staff in 2004 when the Pistons won the title with Wallace as a linchpin, wants this to happen. The Knicks feel they have nothing to lose for the veteran’s minimum of $1.7 million.
For a team with deep playoff aspirations, this move makes absolutely no sense.
If Wallace signs with the Knicks, most of the controversy will come from his enigmatic personality—and rightfully so. The former North Carolina Tar Heel has been a divisive force not only in his own locker rooms but also with the league office since he arrived in the NBA.
While his agent and handlers can attempt to sell the story of an "older, more mature" Wallace coming into New York to help propel these wily youngsters, that's an unequivocal farce. People in general do not undergo radical personality changes at that age, especially former star athletes.
To expect anything different from Wallace is not only unrealistic, it is also unfair to a 38-year-old man who became quite successful at being who he is and "playing hard."
Nonetheless, the personality question would be irrelevant if Wallace were anywhere near his former self skill or conditioning-wise.
As Berman's piece notes, the former All-Star is still way out of playing shape, a habit that should be familiar to those who watched his stint with the Boston Celtics in 2009-10. Playing in 79 games for Boston, Wallace shot a career-low 40.9 percent as he floated along the three-point line, hosting ill-advised bombs at a 28.3 percent rate.
Expecting a svelte and efficient Wallace after two seasons away from the sport is wholly unrealistic.
Instead, the Knicks would receive a two years older, two years slower version of a player who was already washed up the last time he was on an NBA court.
Considering the amount of questionable personalities already on New York's roster, this potential move has disaster written all over it.
The Knicks would be far better off making a less risky, lower-profile signing and going into the season with the peace of mind of not having Wallace in the fold.
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