Playing for his fourth NBA team in four years, forward Gerald Wallace has been a man on the move. Part of the reason for that is ever since starring for the Charlotte Bobcats Wallace has been in a steady state of decline.
Wallace averaged 18.2 points per game in 2009-10 with Charlotte. Over the past three years, his scoring averaged has decreased every year. That looks to be holding true again as the forward is averaging only 5.2 points per contest with his current team, the Boston Celtics. It’s not just his scoring that’s suffering, either. Wallace became a good rebounder in Charlotte, even reaching ten boards per game in that 2009-10 season. This year, however, he is down to a meager 3.6 each night.
Wallace’s decline isn’t all that surprising. He’s only 31, but has already played 12 seasons in the NBA since he played only a single season with Alabama in college before jumping to the pros. He has a lot of mileage on his body so it makes sense that he’s past his prime.
Wallace’s presence on a team contending for a title would make more sense. Mired deep in a rebuilding movement, he’s not an ideal fit in Boston. He’s stuck in a situation where he’s not only on a losing team, but not even the star as he was in Charlotte. So a potential trade just sounds as if it makes sense.
Steve Bulpett in the Boston Herald recently said that sources indicated the Celtics would like to remove Wallace’s contract along with Kris Humphries‘ contract. HoopsWorld is reporting the same thing.
Sure, Boston might like to move the veteran, but it will also be difficult. Wallace can still play a little bit but the bigger problem is the massive contract tethered to his game. He is owed approximately $30 million through 2016 and not only is that a lot for any player, it’s even more of an albatross for one on the back end of his career. Expiring contracts are all the rage for NBA teams hoping to clear cap space, but with Wallace being on the hook for two more seasons after this one, it will be difficult to find teams that are interested.
Boston may have found at least one party willing to take on Wallace in the New York Knicks. Per ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Celtics and Knicks could work out deal involving Wallace for center Amar’e Stoudemire. ESPN New York’s Ian Begley confirmed that, saying Boston might have some interest in that move.
Stoudemire is averaging a career-low 5.1 points per game. Part of that is due to the relatively meager 14.5 minutes per contest he’s getting, but the big man is also shooting a career-low 46 percent from the field. In addition, when you look at the 38 percent he’s shot from the charity stripe after being a 76 percent career free throw shooter, it’s clear that Stoudemire has checked out in New York.
Right now, Stoudemire isn’t doing anything for the Knicks and while New York may be hesitant to take another bad contract on in exchange for Stoudemire’s bad deal, a player like Wallace could actually contribute a bit more to the team. Let’s be honest–things haven’t exactly gone well in New York and the team is in dire need of a change.
On Boston’s end, since Stoudemire’s contract actually ends one year sooner, that’s one year earlier the Celtics can find a taker for him and an expiring contract. Plus, if Stoudemire rebounds to become even half the player he once was, he can still be a serviceable frontcourt player.
It’s still early in the season and both teams likely want a bit more in return. If they can’t find another suitable deal, though, each may be stuck with the other.