Rasheed Wallace Rumors: Why He Won't Be Playing for the Celtics in 2011

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Rasheed Wallace Rumors: Why He Won't Be Playing for the Celtics in 2011
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Recently, rumors of a Rasheed Wallace return to the Boston Celtics have surfaced. Before 'Sheed officially retired at the end of last season, there was plenty of speculation that Wallace could retire and then return somewhere around the All-Star break. 

So when Stephen A Smith told AOL Fanhouse that Rasheed Wallace is in fact planning a return after the trade deadline (Feb. 24), a rash of speculation followed that 'Sheed was a lock to rejoin the men in green.

Logistically, this thought process might make sense at first, as the C's big men have been hit by a rash of injuries this season.

Kendrick Perkins is close to making a return with the C's but has yet to play in a game this year after offseason knee surgery.

Kevin Garnett has missed about two weeks of action with a calf strain and is considered day-to-day. He was held out of Wednesday's contest against the Kings, but had it been a play-off game, he would have played.

Jermaine O'Neal has been limited to just 17 games with a lingering knee injury. Given his extensive injury history, his issues aren't something that will likely go away, and he'll be playing through varying levels of pain throughout the rest of the season.

So, given all of this, 'Sheed to the C's is a no-brainer, right?

Wrong.

Smith, who originally reported the news, took to twitter almost immediately. This is what he had to say:

"Please don't go quoting about Rasheed Wallace return. All I said on DP's Show is that he said months ago he planned on coming out of retirement to help the C's take on the Lakers. That doesn't mean he will. I haven't spoken to him in months. Who knows how he feels now."

It sounds as if Smith himself doesn't even believe that 'Sheed will be back. At the very least, he leaves the question very open ended.

Additionally, both Perkins are Garnett are expected to be back in the lineup by the end of the month. That delegates Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, and Glen Davis to the bench. In addition, the C's have two other rookie bigs in Luke Harangody and Semih Erden.

By my count, that's seven bigs. Those seven bigs have spent the entire season with the team, developing chemistry with their teammates and learning a complicated offensive and defensive system.

'Sheed, while he came up huge in the playoffs, isn't a defensive upgrade over the likes of Jermaine O'Neal, or an offensive upgrade over the likes of Shaq.

Glen Davis has finally come into his own this season, and remains one of the better bench players in all of basketball. Regardless of the health of the Celtics frontcourt, Baby should see about 25-28 MPG.

It's doubtful that Wallace gets more playing time than Baby, Shaq, or JO.

Also, while 'Sheed might be ahead of guys like Harangody or Erden on a depth chart, he's certainly not going to take either of their roster spots. Both have shown great potential this season and remain parts of the Celtics future past the big three era.

And as A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE has pointed out, there's just nowhere to put Wallace on the roster. Apart from an already deep frontcourt, the Celtics have the maximum number of guaranteed contracts, 15.

If the Celtics were to add Rasheed, Von Wafer would probably lose his job. I know, many of you are probably scratching your head...Von who?

Wafer has been a journeyman throughout his NBA career. His one reputable season came with Houston in 2008-09, where he averaged 9.7 PPG in 19.4 MPG and shot 39% from three. He was out of basketball last season and won the final roster spot on the Celtics in training camp, beating out former UMass standout Stephane Lasme.

However, at this point, Wafer is more valuable to the C's than Rasheed. Sounds crazy, but it's true.

Apart from the money the Celtics would have to eat to cut Wafer, they would also be severely limiting their backcourt depth in order to bolster an already deep frontcourt.

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Apart from Rondo and Allen, the C's really only have one other healthy guard of note, Nate Robinson.

Marquis Daniels is a versatile player capable of playing multiple positions, but he's a small forward more than anything else.

Delonte West is currently out with a wrist injury. Best estimates have him back by the All-Star break, but it could be even longer.

Avery Bradley is the only other guard on the Celtics roster. Just 20 years old, Bradley has played just 65 minutes all season. Virtually all of those minutes have come in garbage time or out of necessity due to things like injury and foul trouble.

Wafer has played sparingly (just 7.1 MPG), but has vastly improved his game. If there were a best improved defensive player of the year award, Wafer would be eligible for it. Known mostly for his offense, Wafer has brought his defense to the level where playing him in extended minutes is justified.

I enjoyed watching 'Sheed last season. While he certainly wasn't there mentally in a lot of games, when he was it was fun to watch. An underrated post player and an overrated talker, 'Sheed was always good for the occasional back-to-basket and a bunch of unjustified technicals.

I also appreciate what Wallace did for the Celtics in the playoffs. He promised that he would come to play when the team needed him most...and he did. Despite a back injury that was at times so painful he had trouble sitting down, Wallace gave the team quality minutes throughout the playoffs.

However, a 'Sheed sighting in Boston doesn't look likely, and it doesn't make much sense.

Dan is a Boston Celtics and Boston Red Sox featured columnist. Follow him on twitter at danhartelBR.

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