I was laid off in September, and immediately registered for unemployment. Thus began three months of periodic writing, much sleeping and increased music intake. This has nothing in common with the newly bought-out Chris Webber‘s situation, except that I wouldn’t have taken a job with the Knicks, either. Webber is looking, though, at the teams you’d expect. Says Marc Stein at ESPN:
Webber told ESPN.com on Wednesday night that 17 of the league’s 30 teams have already called to register interest in his services, but the free agent-to-be hopes to sign with one of the following contenders: Miami and his hometown Detroit Pistons in the East; San Antonio, Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers in the West.
“This is the best I’ve felt in three years,” Webber said in a phone interview. “Now the thing I want to do most is win a championship, put myself back on that kind of level.”
Webber didn’t divulge any order or preferences when listing those teams but did acknowledge that the Mavericks, believed to be offering less playing time than anyone in the group, was the least likely destination.
Early indications in San Antonio, meanwhile, suggest that the Spurs — whose desire to get younger and more athletic and the swing positions is well-chronicled — are unlikely to pursue Webber.
Each of the other three teams on Webber’s list, by contrast, does have a need and an interest.
“My father said I haven’t smiled on the court in about three years,” Webber said. “I just want to get back to playing with a smile on my face and playing with a team that can really vie for title. I want to be an integral part of a championship team.”
The 33-year-old added that he hopes to have his new address “by Monday, even though three or four teams want me by Friday.”
A new deal can’t happen that quickly because Webber must wait two business days to clear waivers once his buyout from the Sixers is made official. Webber said he expects paperwork on the buyout to be completed by Thursday morning at the latest.
There may be a starting role for Chris in his hometown, it turns out. Rasheed Wallace started the game on the bench again last night, in favor of previously little-used Jason Maxiell. ‘Sheed seemed cool enough with it, even considering that Coach Flip Saunders said the decision was made “for basketball reasons.” After his benching (for being late to practice) on Tuesday, Wallace joked:
“Oh, no, it was cool for me,” Wallace said. “I ain’t got no problem with it. (Shoot) I might even ask him to do it again, you know, just to try to give us a spark off the bench and some consistency off the bench. So, no, I didn’t have no problem at all.
“I’m straight. Like I said, I might even ask him for the next game, what, tomorrow? To do it again tomorrow. Maybe that’s one of the things that we need, just try something different.”
Before yesterday’s loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, Wallace laughed with teammates about his new role (link from ESPN):
“So, I heard you’re up for the Sixth Man Award,” center Dale Davis said.
Replied Wallace: “I’m going for that.”
Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups, sidelined with an injured right calf, walked into the locker room about an hour before the game.
“You’re late!” Wallace shouted.
“What are you going to do, bench me?” Billups joked.
Ha ha ha! (Tick, tick, tick)