In a report put out by the New York Post, former Piston big man Rasheed Wallace will come out of retirement and try to make the Knicks’ opening day roster.
The 15-year veteran, who last played in 2009-10 with Boston after four and a half with Detroit, told New York he would only play for them because of their head coach, Mike Woodson; he was an assistant coach with the Pistons during Wallace’s time in Detroit.
No official contract has been signed yet, but he would make the veteran’s minimum of $1.7 million – more than Iman Shumpert, Renaldo Balkman, Kurt Thomas, Ronnie Brewer, James White and Chris Copeland. Surprisingly, “Sheed” wouldn’t even be the team’s oldest player, despite his 15 seasons in the league – Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd are all older than him.
For a team that didn’t have much of a defensive presence last year outside of Tyson Chandler, adding a player of Wallace’s experience and credentials would be a pretty big boost. The other teams in the Atlantic Division all boost defensive big men, including Boston’s Kevin Garnett, Philadelphia’s Andrew Bynum, Brooklyn’s Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries, and Toronto’s Amir Johnson. While New York’s big men are all up there in age and may lack the athleticism they once had, they all excel at tough defense and rebounding.
In Wallace’s last season with the Pistons, just three years ago in 2009, he averaged 1.3 blocks, 7.4 rebounds and nearly a steal a game. With Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony providing a majority of the team’s offense, the Knicks will likely look for Wallace to simply rebound and defend, not expend too much energy on offense. Whether or not he decides to follow that – he was always willing to shoot three-pointers in his final years with Detroit – only time will tell.
Nothing has been officially signed yet, and adding the former Piston wouldn’t help their long-term plans (if they really have any), but signing Wallace could provide one more defensive presence to a team suddenly full of them.