Though he hauled down 22 rebounds in yesterday’s squashing of Indiana, Ben Wallace’s actions from last Friday night were still under the scrutiny of the Detroit Free Press’ Krista Latham.
Routinely troublesome players would have been fined or even suspended for Wallace’s behavior on Friday. With his team in a close game against the Magic, Wallace swore at his coach, waved off his attempts to put him back in the lineup and didn’t join his teammates in the final huddle.
But the Wallace matter resolved itself Sunday without any usual signs of closure. No apology to his
teammates — and his teammates didn’t want one. No fine, no suspension, no benching.
“Listen, there’s a lot of things that happen at practice that people know nothing about,” Saunders said. “We’re like a family. And in a family, there are things that sometimes you don’t agree upon. What you do is you air it out and you deal with it, and that’s what we’ve done.”
“You can’t look and see what he’s done here in five years for this organization and for me as a coach,” Saunders said, “… and overlook that because something happens.”
The two talked after the Magic game, and Saunders said there’s a multitude of things that likely built up frustrations in Wallace. But the biggest source of Wallace’s angst is his usual complaint: he deeply believes that if he is not an active part of the offense, the team’s chances of winning plummet.
It’s not about scoring or personal stats. He just sees a team with five offensive threats on the floor as a better option than one with only four.
“That championship year we had, everybody played,” Wallace said. “It wasn’t trying to win with one or two guys. We used everybody that we had, including our bench. We’ve got to use everybody. That’s the only way you can win in this league.”
Wallace fired his agent, Steve Kaufman, a few months ago and plans to replace him with an attorney who will bill him on an hourly basis.
If he wants a trade kicker in his deal, Wallace had better hope his new attorney knows how to get one. If he wants bonus payments for making the All-Star team, winning the NBA championship or being named Defensive Player of the Year, that new lawyer had better be proficient in the collective bargaining agreement language pertaining to bonuses he is likely or unlikely to earn.
Normally, an agent would take care of those types of details — as well as playing the Pistons off any other potential suitors.
But the fact that Wallace will be going the cheap route in the biggest negotiation of his career is the surest sign of all that he’s dead set on staying with the Pistons when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Q: What does it do?
A: It’s a defender. You can post it up, you can do what you want to do. Stick pins in it, whatever you want to do.
Q: It can’t exactly be considered a defender if it doesn’t move, reach or jump, can it?
A: A blowup doll that jumps, come on, man.
Q: So it’s not exactly like the real thing?
A: Oh, no. It’s not like the real thing. It’s 7 feet, too. I’m 6-8.