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Can Boston Celtics Find a Taker for Gerald Wallace's Bogus Contract?

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Can Boston Celtics Find a Taker for Gerald Wallace's Bogus Contract?
Brian Babineau/Getty Images

Gerald Wallace may legitimately have the worst contract in the league. 

There are bigger contracts. There are longer contracts. There are less productive players. But there is no one in the league on a bigger, longer contract who is less productive than Wallace.

It's a shame, because Wallace used to be a really good player. But just like his namesake in the movie Bull Durham, basketball's Crash has seen his body breakdown after lots of hard fouls and physical, sometimes reckless play.

The physical decline has left Wallace to rely on the mental side of the game, and sadly, the deterioration there has been even greater. Wallace has a full-blown case of what you might call "the yips." He's afraid to shoot completely now, and through 334 minutes this year he's taken zero shots from 5-22 feet and only 3.7 attempts per game. 

Wallace's turnover percentage is also way up, as his current 35.8 percent turnover rate is significantly higher than his 13.8 percent career number. Either something bad or nothing at all happens almost every time Wallace gets the ball these days, and so for the most part, he looks to avoid it whenever possible. 

Wallace hasn't been shy about venting his frustrations this year. He can't be happy with what he's become at just 31 years old, and his decreased role on a rebuilding Boston Celtics team can't help the situation, either.

At this point, Wallace can't be given away. Not with three years and $30.3 million left on his deal, and not with the way he's played the past few years. He's toxic on the court and on the books, sad as it is to say for a player who spent most of his career being underappreciated. 

But in the NBA, there is no such thing as a completely immovable player. It just all depends on what the Celtics are willing to do to get rid of him.

Brian Babineau/Getty Images

 

Selling Away

Bleacher Report's own Jared Zwerling recently tackled a trade rumor harder than Rob Ford, and it's a good example of the type of deal Boston could do to get rid of Wallace's contract. 

In that proposed trade, the Celtics would send out Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace in exchange for Amar'e Stoudemire. The line of thinking is that Humphries could help the Knicks this season and be an upgrade over Stoudemire, which is almost certainly true, while the Celtics would benefit from getting cap room a year sooner. 

The fact that Wallace no longer represents an upgrade over Stoudemire, who can barely play because of his knees and can't defend a soul, tells you what you need to know about how painful Wallace's long-term deal is. 

There are other options for the Celtics than targeting players on two-year deals that play for desperate teams. If the Celtics attached a draft pick to Wallace, perhaps a team with plenty of space to absorb a bad deal, like the Philadelphia 76ers, would jump on it.

Or maybe a team that is rarely active in free agency, like the Utah Jazz, would do another trade similar to the one they did with Golden State this offseason. Utah acquired dead salary and landed two unprotected future first-round picks to show for it, so perhaps it'd be interested in something along those lines. 

What seems more likely, however, is that Wallace is tied to the best asset Boston has that is actually movable.

Brian Babineau/Getty Images

 

Attached to Rajon Rondo

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has said Rondo isn't going anywhere, but if a team was willing to take Wallace off the books in the same deal, he'd have to reconsider.

Tying Wallace to any Rondo trade makes perfect sense for the Celtics, as it would almost fully wipe the deck clear for a total and complete rebuild. 

The question is, would any team looking to acquire Rondo also be able to take on Wallace's deal?

As it stands right now and looking to next season, here are the teams that may be in need of a starting point guard:

Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz. 

Some of those teams may already have solutions in place (Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo), while others likely lack the trade assets (Heat, Knicks, Lakers) to acquire Rondo in a deal. 

It's also important to keep in mind that there will be some cheaper options hitting the open market (Isaiah Thomas, for example) as well as a few high-profile prospects entering the draft (Dante Exum and Marcus Smart).

While it only takes one good deal, the number of teams that covet Rondo, feel they can retain him long-term and are willing to pay the price of acquiring Wallace may be extremely limited.

The climate just isn't hospitable right now to this sort of deal. There is plenty of supply and little demand for point guards, and teams are more leery of taking on dead-weight salary than they ever were before because of the more punitive luxury tax rules. 

 

The Biggest Asset

Again, there is no such thing as a contract that can't be traded. Wallace's deal is about as close you'll get, but we've seen the massive deals of Gilbert Arenas, Rashard Lewis and a handful of others be dealt when no one thought it was possible.

What should the Celtics do with Gerald Wallace?

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It just all boils down to how desperate Boston is to get rid of Wallace's contract. While it's a safe bet that it's a priority for Ainge, it may not be enough of one to forfeit other important assets to make it happen.

The Celtics have other contracts that could be shed, like Courtney Lee's deal that's also for three years and Jeff Green's contract that runs for three years and has a player option on the final season. As it stands, the Celtics aren't in line to have significant cap room next year, and time is on their side.

Wallace's deal gets better as the months pass by, and you can guarantee that there will be other bad contracts that are signed or spring up in the meantime. This is rock bottom for Wallace's trade value. It simply has to get better, even if Wallace does not. 

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