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’Sheed signing perfect necessity

by Brandon Simes
Managing Editor
Sunday Jul 5, 2009
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Danny just fired back. Various media outlets are now reporting that the Celtics have signed Rasheed Wallace, formerly of the Detroit Pistons, to a two-year deal for the mid-level exception (a little under $6 million annually depending on the salary cap, which has yet to be set). Wallace will bring 35 years of technical savvy (pun alert) to the 17-time champs on Opening Night, and an unbelievable array of skills. Think KG with three-point range, a different sort of insanity, and much less drive to dominate. And then put KG, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce in his ear, telling him he can get at least one more championship before hanging up his kicks if he focuses for the life of his contract.

Roster-wise, the move likely signals the end of Glen "Big Baby" Davis’s time in Boston. Davis will be missed for a variety of reasons, notably his incomparable, beyond-strange Disneyland Monologue, but Wallace more than makes up for the loss in the non-demeanor and youth categories. Basically, just about everything Davis does well, Wallace does better, especially on the defensive end. Add in the fact that he can play both power forward and center, and you’ve got yourself the perfect complement to Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett. With 96 "big man" minutes up for grabs per game, look for the three tallest Celtics expected on the roster at this point to share them mostly evenly, with ’Sheed acting as the first man off the bench. Brian Scalabrine will aptly play the role of second big man off the bench behind Wallace, and should the Celts bring back Leon Powe after he heals up from yet another knee injury for the stalwart good guy, they’ll have an ideal front court. Powe would add a late-season spark if healthy, providing a charge-taking, foul-drawing, low-post presence. Signing ’Sheed enables Danny Ainge to offer Powe a one-year deal now without hesitation, because they don’t need number 00, but they could use him if he makes it back to near where he was pre-injury.

The rest of the roster could still use some help. The Celtics could use a decent back-up point guard (perhaps a Lindsey Hunter type?), and they desperately need another swingman. Unless you’re putting stock in the return of the pre-post-whistle-dunk Tony Allen, the Celtics really only have one possible option off the bench at the wing, Billy Walker. (Yes, I’m discounting the candidacy of J.R. Giddens at this point--call him "Mark Sanford for 2012," and search that silly phrase for a good laugh.) I think Walker can turn into a solid guy off the bench, but he might not be ready next year, and the Green certainly shouldn’t waste their last legitimate chance at a title before Ray Allen’s contract runs out and the end of the Big Three approaches. Adding Grant Hill, as reports have said Boston hopes to do, would be a good way to bridge that gap. When the inevitable injuries occur, Walker can get his chance, and hopefully step up like Big Baby did last year. Another target could be former Toronto Raptor Anthony "Candace’s brother" Parker. Ainge still has the bi-annual exception and veteran minimum deals to offer, so if he and the other big guns can do some good convincing like they did with Wallace, Boston should be able to set itself up for another title run in the now top-heavy Eastern Conference. After the Cavs added The Big Royal Guard (i.e. Shaq--not sure if that nickname’s going to cut it but we’ll try it out after his "win a ring for the King" comments) and the Magic basically swapped Courtney Lee and Hedo Turkoglu for Vince Carter, signing Rasheed became necessary.

But, it appears to me that this time, it’s a case of perfect necessity.

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