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Not too long ago, the Dale and Holley show on WEEI Radio made some comments about what Rasheed Wallace might be up to in his new retirement days. They revealed the fact that Wallace is still a resident of Massachusetts, living on the North Shore, leaving some speculation that Wallace may not have called it quits on the basketball world just yet. Could Rasheed Wallace come back to the Celtics again this year after the all-star break similar to what other veteran players (most notably P.J. Brown in 2008) have done for the C’s in years past?
Wallace had many up and down moments for the green throughout the regular season last year. After all the excitement about him coming to Boston, there were often points during the year where fans would say how much of a waste of time and money he had become. He constantly jacked up three point shots and missed what seemed like 90% of the time. He also did not play his position of a center very well off the bench to back up Kendrick Perkins, allowing the Celtics to be one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. However, once playoff time came around, it seemed like there was a completely different Rasheed Wallace wearing number 30 for the Celtics.
At different points during the playoffs, especially at points when it mattered, Wallace turned it on for the C’s. Although the numbers do not consistently show that he was better in the playoffs, pretty much everyone from the coaching staff, to the rest of the team, to the media, and to the fans would agree that the Rasheed Wallace in the playoffs was a better Rasheed Wallace than in the regular season. Wallace even made a public statement after the season was over, admitting to the fact that he was saving himself for the playoffs. This was a similar mindset to that of Celtics coach, Doc Rivers, who was saving just about the entire team for the playoffs by the way he coached them.
So if Wallace were to come back at the mid-season point for the Celtics, could he help the team? Most likely, yes is my answer. It’s a similar situation when you think about the role of Shaquille O’Neal this year. He does not have to be the presence that he once was. He just needs to be able to come in and play quality minutes until Kendrick Perkins or sometimes Kevin Garnett can come back into the game. Also, considering the age of this team, a healthy big man that only has to play the second half of the season and potentially playoffs is always a good thing to have. P.J. Brown flourished three years ago in this role and was a huge help to the Celtics during their playoff run and eventual title win. Would they have beaten the Lakers in the finals without Brown? Tough to say, but even if they did, it would have been a much harder route than the one they took.
This, of course, is all speculation, and there is no actual truth yet about what Wallace is up to in staying in Massachusetts. You would think that a guy with the kind of money he has would not stay on the North Shore of the ol’ Bay State. I love Massachusetts just as much as the next guy who has lived here all his life, but for someone like Wallace, what value does it have for him right now? Sure, he could take his kids to Salem during Halloween, but wouldn’t he rather be lounging on the beaches of Southern Florida than out here for another most likely terrible New England winter? Wallace had a tough time deciding whether or not he would retire at the end of last season, so the idea of him returning to Boston for one last title run does not seem too far out of the question. Adding back the personality of Rasheed Wallace to this already fun-filled group of players in Boston would make what is already going to be a great season into an even better one.