If I was Tim Duncan, my personal pitch to Rasheed Wallace would start with a thank you.
As in, thanks for leaving Robert Horry open in 2005.
Surely a defender of your caliber intended that as an act of generosity.
We owe you one. A title, that is.
Want another? Come to the franchise that has lassoed four of them in the last 10 years.
I would also tell him how much I yearn for a fifth ring, and he could be the final piece that helps me secure it.
I would come alone, allowing the chance to play with Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Richard Jefferson under Gregg Popovich to speak for itself.
How can any pitch the Boston Celtics made, heartfelt as it may have been, top that?
Duncan would never tell another soul that he is the greatest to ever play at his position, so I will.
Someone has to do the dirty work.
The Spurs are courting Wallace—a player with a history of mood swings and on-court meltdowns, who averaged career lows in many categories last season—as free agency Plan A because they can make it work like few others can.
All of his suitors can offer the same mid-level deal. Money is not the dilemma.
In the last year, O'Neal's PR gems have included asking Kobe Bryant how his ass tastes, calling Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy the "master of panic" and trying to discredit Dwight Howard as any kind of "superman."
The Hall of Fame-bound center will say anything if it gets him the attention he craves. Duncan won't.
Maybe the 2008 champs—anchored by Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen—could also convince Wallace to tame his wild ways.
They did make the Stephon Marbury acquisition work reasonably well.
The Spurs, however, would give Wallace the sure thing he needs.
A Popovich-led locker room is groomed and ready for such a mercurial talent. It has been since 2003, when Stephen Jackson walked away with his only championship ring and a newfound defensive prowess.
Many didn't see in 2002 how Jackson's flighty temper would work in such a professional locker room just as many don't see this working now.
Won't he rack up technical fouls and scream and pout his way into the Pop doghouse?
How about his dreadful 2009 playoff averages of six points and six rebounds?
Wallace may have drifted away and lost it on a baked Detroit Pistons squad close to missing the playoffs.
He will not screw up the chance to win a second ring alongside three potential Hall of Famers and a 29-year-old Jefferson.
Popovich holds a short leash for malcontents, and not even Wallace has enough bark to bite his way from its grasp.
With his size and length, he could help frustrate Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum as he did Duncan for so many years.
Their mutual respect goes back to their ACC days.
When 'Sheed channels his aggression the right way, the opponent pays for it.
He is a terrific spot up shooter from behind the arc, though not a high percentage one.
He can still score reliably in the post with a host of crafty spin moves and hook shots, despite what most saw in April.
Two years ago, in game one of the opening round against the Philadelphia 76ers, he blocked seven shots.
In Detroit, where a depleted front court necessitated his producing like an All-Star, he looked every bit of 34 years.
At times, his days in Portland seemed decades ago.
With proper support and motivation, Wallace's many remaining talents could shine.
San Antonio's system promises to give him one hell of a fog lamp.
GM R.C. Buford has previously pursued J.R. Smith and Ron Artest.
This time, they don't want a rain check. They want the kind of commitment they are ready to give him.
Such as, the starting role, which would allow niche center Matt Bonner to score as a reserve, or a chance to beat the Los Angeles Lakers again.
In a surprising move to some, Spurs Owner Peter Holt has OK'd the team's ascent into luxury tax territory.
The Jefferson heist does not signal a coming trade of Parker or Ginobili. The Spurs are paying up to pry open Duncan's championship window. Wallace—and perhaps free agent forwards Drew Gooden and Fabricio Oberto at bargain prices—represent the final pieces of what could be the most talented squad in franchise history.
No athlete deserves another title as much as Duncan. Dealing for Jefferson left a huge hole on the team's frontline.
Wallace, whacky as he can be, would fit just as a sized championship ring does.
We owe you one, Duncan should say.
The first step to collecting your dues is signing on this dotted line.
'Sheed and the Spurs an odd couple?
This time, it works.
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