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ChicagoJ
02-21-2004, 06:01 PM
Yes, an article on 'Sheed. :P

http://www.freep.com/sports/pistons/rosey21_20040221.htm
MICHAEL ROSENBERG: Despite Wallace reputation, trade could be a match made in heaven

BY MICHAEL ROSENBERG
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

February 21, 2004

Seven minutes and 29 seconds into Friday night's Pistons-Timberwolves game, Rasheed Wallace stood up, walked over to center court, took off his warmup and tucked in his jersey.

For these menial acts, he received his largest ovation in several years.

And instantly, it was obvious: If he can't make it here, he can't make it anywhere.

Detroit wants to love Rasheed Wallace. Heck, Detroit already loves Rasheed Wallace.

And his team, a low-maintenance group, is already a winner.

And his coach, Larry Brown, has coaxed success out of all sorts of malcontents.

And he'll be a free agent this summer, so he has every reason to improve his reputation.

If that's not a recipe for improving an attitude, what is?

I don't want to get into all of Wallace's transgressions as a Portland Trail Blazer. It's not because he deserves a clean slate. It's just that I don't need him chasing me out of the arena, as he once did with a referee.

Let's just say that by the end of his time in Portland, Wallace was the most hated man in the city. And despite Pistons coach Larry Brown's attempt to paint him as some combination of Magic Johnson and Mr. Rogers, Wallace brought much of it on himself.

In Portland, they would have arrested him for walking across the street, except that he usually gave them a better reason.

Is he looking forward to not having all eyes on him?

"All eyes are still going to be on me," Wallace said.

Not in the same way, though. Not here. Not with these teammates and certainly not with these fans. Wallace just has to fit in, play well and test negative. He doesn't have to lead. People would look at him funny if he even tried.

That's why this can work. You don't want to build a team around Rasheed Wallace, but you can get away with adding him to a contender. Winning teams can handle guys like this. People used to complain about Dennis Rodman's antics, but when Rodman joined successful teams in Detroit and Chicago, he won five championships.

We like to separate the sports world into Good Guys and Servants of the Devil, but that's too simplistic. Environments matter. Coaches matter.

Besides, the Pistons are asking Wallace to rebound and score, not welcome people at the airport.

And if this trade goes to pieces like Wallace after a bad call, well, who cares? The Pistons looked destined for a second-round playoff loss anyway. They can let him leave this summer and they'll still have their core players. In fact, this trade actually reduced risk, because now the Pistons have more salary-cap room to re-sign Mehmet Okur.

In the NBA, everybody is trying to do one of two things: get better or get rid of future salaries. Somehow, Joe Dumars did both.

Wallace, meanwhile, benefits from one of the irritating quirks of the NBA:

If you are supremely talented and behave well, you might get stuck on a loser for years. If you are supremely talented and behave poorly, you usually get traded to a winner.

(Exhibit A was at the Palace on Friday: Latrell Sprewell. He choked his coach on a bad Golden State team, and quickly got shipped to a better New York team. Then New York started losing, so Sprewell showed up late to practice a few times and alienated the team's management. Now he's with Minnesota, which might be the best team in the league. Do not try this in your own career.)

For Wallace, everything is there for the taking: on-court success, adoration from fans, maybe a trip to the NBA Finals.

He couldn't play the second half Friday because of a paperwork technicality. The crowd, unaware that Wallace was ineligible, chanted, "We want Rasheed, We want Rasheed."

"I was sitting there chanting, 'Me too,' " Wallace said. " 'Me too.' "

Contact MICHAEL ROSENBERG at 313-222-6052 or rosenberg@freepress.com.

Copyright 2004 Detroit Free Press Inc.

sixthman
02-21-2004, 07:22 PM
I thought this was pretty clever.

"Do not try this in your own career". Classic. ;)

If you are supremely talented and behave well, you might get stuck on a loser for years. If you are supremely talented and behave poorly, you usually get traded to a winner.

(Exhibit A was at the Palace on Friday: Latrell Sprewell. He choked his coach on a bad Golden State team, and quickly got shipped to a better New York team. Then New York started losing, so Sprewell showed up late to practice a few times and alienated the team's management. Now he's with Minnesota, which might be the best team in the league. Do not try this in your own career.)

I watched Sheed on TV the one game he played for Atlanta. He was having a great time and the fans and his fellow players seemed to like him.

I have no doubt he will prosper in Detroit. But the good news is, I think the Pistons will have to renounce their rights to him in order to get below the cap and have the money to sign Okur.

Unclebuck
02-21-2004, 07:57 PM
90% of the trouble Sheed has gotten into over the years is with the refs.

From what I have heard his teammates have always enjoyed playing with him, and he is not a selfish player at all.

Anthem
02-21-2004, 10:45 PM
From what I have heard his teammates have always enjoyed playing with him

Think "basketball in the back of the head."

Also, by "refs" I think you mean "league officials." That would include referees, commissioners, and substance abuse counselors.