Thursday, July 9, 2009
Rasheed Wallace is joining Boston's Big Three as the Celtics hope the four-time All-Star will help them recapture the NBA championship.
Wallace, known for his shooting, rebounding and technical fouls, signed on Wednesday, the first day free agents were allowed to do so.
One of the most coveted players available, Wallace joins Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen as the veteran corps of a team that lost to Orlando in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals one year after winning its 17th NBA title.
Terms of the reported two-year deal were not released. Wallace earned $13.68 million last season, his last of a five-year contract with the Detroit Pistons.
The 2.11-meter (6-foot-11) Wallace can play the low post and has exceptional shooting range. He averaged 12 points for the Pistons last year, the 14th straight season in which he's scored at least 10 per game.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said the team was "ecstatic" to add a player with Wallace's talent and championship experience. He won a title with Detroit in 2004.
Wallace, a starter for his entire career, expects to back up Garnett at power forward and Kendrick Perkins at center. Garnett is expected to be at full strength when the season starts after he had postseason knee surgery.
Wallace has averaged 15 points and 6.9 rebounds with 1.4 blocks while playing almost 34 minutes per game in his 14 seasons. Now he must adjust to a backup role after starting 943 of his 1,009 regular-season games.
He also must try to keep his temper in check.
His 41 technical fouls in 2000-01 while with Portland still stands as the NBA's single-season record. During the 2008 playoffs, the league fined him $25,000 for his expletive-laced criticism of officials Mike Callahan and Kenny Mauer.
When the season starts, Wallace will be 35, Allen 34, Garnett 33 and Pierce 32. But Ainge said last week that the Big Three could play with Boston beyond their current contracts.
Allen has one year left on his deal, Pierce has two and Garnett has three.