NBA PM: Miami Signing Rasheed Wallace?
After spending one year away from basketball, Rasheed Wallace is determined to resume his NBA career. The 37-year-old wants to come out of retirement and sign with a contender before the end of the season, according to multiple sources close to the situation.
Wallace last played for the Boston Celtics during the 2009-10 season, when he averaged 9.0 points and 4.1 rebounds over the course of 79 games. He chose to retire after the season, even though he had two years remaining on his contract with the Celtics.
Now, Wallace wants to make a comeback. He spent a large part of the offseason working out in Boston and believes he can still contribute to a team.
In recent weeks, he has been weighing his options and talking with a number of teams.
During the All-Star break, rumors started circulating that Wallace was on the verge of signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the two sides didn’t agree to a deal and, while the Lakers still have an open roster spot, no signing appears to be imminent.
The Miami Heat have expressed significant interest in Wallace and recently worked him out. Miami wants to add a big man to their roster and they view Wallace as a low-risk, high-reward signing. If the Heat aren’t able to trade for a big before the deadline or sign a bought-out center, they could decide to sign Wallace for the remainder of the season.
Other potential suitors could also emerge in the coming weeks. Wallace is one of the best free agents available and he’s someone to keep an eye on throughout the season.
Hibbert, Pacers Make Huge Strides: Over the offseason, the Indiana Pacers were pursuing some of the top free agent centers such as Nene and Marc Gasol. Larry Bird, Indiana’s president of basketball operations, met with Nene in Denver. There was a rumor that the Pacers had offered Roy Hibbert to the Memphis Grizzlies in a sign-and-trade for Gasol.
Indiana was searching for an elite center to fill out their impressive core. While their search wasn’t a success, the dominant big man they had been looking for was on their roster all along. This season, the 25-year-old Hibbert has emerged as an All-Star and helped the Pacers take their game to the next level.
Hibbert is averaging a career-high 13.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks while shooting 50.4 percent from the field. He has been more consistent than in years past and he has emerged as a leader in the locker room. Earlier this season, he broke his nose in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, but returned one quarter later to lead the Pacers to victory.
Hibbert’s progress has allowed Indiana to become a threat in the Eastern Conference, where they currently hold the fifth seed. Not only is Hibbert’s confidence up, but the whole team is believing in themselves this season.
“We’ve improved a lot,” Hibbert told HOOPSWORLD. “We were able to come out of the gate strong and then we had a five-game skid but, to tell you the truth, there was no doubt in our minds that we were going to pick it back up. We know that we’re good; we’re not a bad team. Last year, when we won four or five in a row, we’d be surprised. With who we have now, the coaches and personnel, we know we’re good.”
Even though the Pacers sit at 23-14 and have beaten teams like the Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks, they’re still flying under the radar. They don’t receive much press and they’re not receiving nearly enough credit for their remarkable turnaround.
“If people want to overlook us, that’s fine,” Hibbert said. “I think we’re the best kept secret in the NBA. Let people think that we’re not a threat. We’re just going to play hard.”
Not only are the Pacers winning games, they still have plenty of cap room to make an additional move prior to the March 15 trade deadline. Larry Bird has done an excellent job assembling this team and Hibbert trusts any decision he makes going forward.
“Whatever Larry wants to add, I’m behind it,” Hibbert said. “I seriously feel like he’s made the best decisions in the past year in terms of paying the right people, signing the right people and trading for the right people. I trust his decision making skills.”
“As long as he doesn’t add a starting center, I’ll be fine,” Hibbert said with a laugh.
That joke is much funnier to Hibbert now than it was during the offseason.
Shumpert Moves Into Starting Lineup: The New York Knicks are expected to make a change to their starting lineup tonight as they face the San Antonio Spurs. Iman Shumpert will likely start at shooting guard with Landry Fields moving to the bench, according to sources close to the situation.
Shumpert has been playing extremely well as of late, averaging 10.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals. He has been closing games for the Knicks and many fans in New York were wondering why it took this long to move him into the starting lineup. The rookie has emerged as a significant contributor and he’s one of the best defenders on the team.
Fields has started all but one game this season, but he has been struggling lately. Since the All-Star break, Field has been averaging just 3 points, 4 rebounds and 2.7 assists. While he has developed chemistry with Jeremy Lin, it’s become clear that Shumpert deserves more minutes.
Mike D’Antoni is expected to announce the move during pregame media availability tonight.