NY Knicks Interest in Rasheed Wallace Shows Team Isn't Serious About Winning

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2012

AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24:  Rasheed Wallace #30 of the Detroit Pistons looks on while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 24, 2009 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Cleveland won the game 79-68 to take a 3-0 series lead NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Former Knick Stephon Marbury had an interesting comment concerning the organization's acquisition of Carmelo Anthony in 2011 (via ESPN New York's Ian Begley):

"I don't know if (Knicks owner James) Dolan brought him in to win games or to make money," Marbury said. "I think it was to make money."

You can't help but wonder if similar considerations motivated the newfound interest in 38-year-old Rasheed Wallace. Let's face it—at this point, Wallace's biggest asset is his name.

Nevertheless, The New York Post's Marc Berman reports that this isn't just a James Dolan thing:

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.

Nothing to lose? How about a roster spot and $1.7 million?

If Dolan is looking to give that kind of money away, I bet more than a few Knicks fans will get in line.

Berman goes on to discuss Woodson's love of experienced veterans and the team's reliance upon aging depth in the paint, all valid premises in theory.

But how about a little context? This team is anything but short on veteran leadership. Between Jason Kidd (39), Marcus Camby (38) and Kurt Thomas (almost 40), the Knicks are already halfway to playing out their careers on a stage somewhere in Vegas.

It might make sense to add Wallace if he were still hungry for a ring, but he's had one since 2004. The only thing he's hungry for at this age is an early bird dinner, as evidenced by the fact that multiple teams have attempted to pry him from retirement over the last two years to no avail.

Okay, so maybe Wallace wouldn't lend that burning desire, but surely he'd serve as yet another mentor, right?

Maybe, but how many mentors does a locker room need?

With the Knicks' second unit looking more like a staff of assistant coaches, you'd have to worry about there being too many cooks in the kitchen. A little bit of wisdom can go a long way, and we all know the last thing Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith want to hear are four different accounts of walking to school in the frigid snow.

Plus, Wallace probably isn't the guy you want mentoring anyone. After collecting an all-time league-leading 304 career technical fouls, Sheed may be the one in need of a mentor—even now.

The thought of him setting an example for the likes of J.R. Smith or Iman Shumpert isn't especially comforting.

And that's the problem with all the reasons for adding Wallace. They sound good for all of five seconds, and then you remember we're talking about a guy who hasn't played in two seasons and last shot 28 percent from behind the arc in 2009-10 during his one campaign with the Boston Celtics.

You remember that Wallace spent the better part of his career causing distractions, rebounding less than he should have and taking tons of three-pointers regardless of how many were actually falling.

The preoccupation with adding depth at the 4-spot is especially baffling given how successful Carmelo Anthony was at the position during stretches of last season.

If anything, you'd think NYC would be looking for another small forward or two so that 'Melo could do more of the same this time around, alternating with Amar'e Stoudemire so that they each have opportunities to play as the lone, featured scorer.

Don't forget Steve Novak. He won't bring Wallace's temper, but if you want a spread-4 who doesn't rebound, he's your man.

By almost any metric, this one is a head-scratcher, even by Dolan standards.

It almost seems as though Woodson is telling everyone what Dolan wants to hear, which wouldn't be terribly surprising given a new coach's interest in endearing himself to a franchise that tears through coaches at a steady clip.

Somehow, someway, you'd think Isiah Thomas just has to be behind this. Wallace is a story waiting to happen in a business climate where there's clearly no such thing as bad publicity.

But there's still such a thing as bad basketball moves, and this would be one of them.