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Contemplating ‘Sheed

 

It’s time to start thinking about how Rasheed Wallace fits in with the Celtics. The team is courting ‘Sheed like I would court Mila Kunis if it weren’t for the restraining order, and it sounds as if ‘Sheed would be interested in coming here–provided the C’s offer him the full mid-level exception. I gave you a statistical breakdown of ‘Sheed’s unique game two days ago, so now let’s be a little less numbers-heavy and just talk hoops. Some thoughts:

What does this mean for Kendrick Perkins? 

Remember, Sheed has played almost all of his minutes at center since Ben Wallace left Detroit after the 2006 season. We think of him as a power forward, but he’s been an NBA center for the last three seasons, and he’s defended the big boys at least adequately (Example: Dwight Howard’s career averages head-to-head against Sheed: 18 points on 53 percent shooting). Some people regard him as among the very best–and smartest–post defenders in the league.

Look: Rasheed Wallace is not going to come to Boston and start at center. Kendrick Perkins has worked too hard and knows the defensive schemes too well to become a bench player. When KG went down, Perk suddenly found himself as the back line of the defense–the guy who had to show out on screen rolls and rotate back to the rim on damn near every position, all while helping on penetration, blocking shots and snaring rebounds. He handled it better than expected, and that experience will show this season when he has KG back to captain the defense. 

He also set career highs in points per game, rebounds and PER, and he played the best offense of his career after KG went down. Perk is now a legitimate threat in the post. 

He’s the starting center. Case closed. But is he the finishing center? Talk defense all you want, but coaches prefer to have their best possible offensive line-up on the floor when games get close and possessions become more precious. If he comes here and plays hard, I think you’ll see Sheed slide in for Perkins during the last six minutes of close games. 

And my god, think about the spacing a  Pierce-Allen-Rondo-Wallace-KG line-up would create. You take out Perkins, whose game doesn’t really extend beyond 10 feet yet, and you insert Wallace, who takes 44 percent of his shots from beyond the three-point line–and makes 35 percent of them. Rondo and Pierce should have a lot of space to work with when they drive into the lane. 

All of this is assuming we’re not getting a guy who is about to become a stiff. As I told you earlier this week, last season was unequivocally the worst of Rasheed Wallace’s career. Big guys can stiffen fast. Think about how quickly ‘Sheed’s predecessor at center in Detroit went from All-Star to Useless. They are almost exactly the same age (Sheed is a week younger), and Sheed is already #60 on the league’s all-time minutes played list (right below Kobe and Ray Allen among active players). 

What kind of deal does it take? And who fills out the rest of the roster? (Find out, after the jump).

I’m assuming ‘Sheed is going to want the full mid-level exception (about $5.5 million), which is all the Celtics can offer him. There is a market for ‘Sheed (the Spurs, Mavs and Rockets have all been linked to him already), and with his pedigree, an already-stacked team should be willing to offer him the mid-level if they believe he’ll push them over the top. 

I’m going to be optimistic and assume that Sheed, at this stage of his career, is willing to sign a one-year deal. Teams looking to cut salary ahead of 2010 are not going to want to tie up their mid-level for more than one season.

The next question becomes: Who fills out the rest of the roster? Signing ‘Sheed would give the Celtics 12 roster players (assuming they let Gabe Pruitt walk), meaning there are three more spots up for grabs. Here are the three holes: 

1) Back-up PG

2) Back-up wing

3) Big Baby and/or replacement free agent big man

I’ll ask: If the C’s use the full mid-level on Sheed, how are they filling these holes? (That’s aside from Big Baby, whom they can re-sign without cap limitations because of his Early Bird Rights). The only cap exceptions left would be the bi-annual exception (allowing a team to sign someone to a cheap deal–right now about $2 million per season–every two seasons) and the veteran’s minimum exception, which can be used on an unlimited players. 

Is Anthony Parker coming here for $2 million per season? Is Grant Hill accepting the veteran’s minimum? What about (gulp) Stephon Marbury? (By the way, the Celtics absolutely should limit their offer to Marbury, should they make one, at the vet’s minimum. He deserves nothing more, but that’s a post for another day). 

If not, how are the Celtics filling these roster spots? The only way to get around these salary limitations would be to do a sign-and-trade for one of these guys, but those scenarios present all sorts of problems, not the least of which is that Boston would have to surrender an expiring contract (Scal or TA, or both) to make the salaries match in such deal. Sign-and-trades also present a host of salary cap complications I won’t get into here, since we’re at 830 words. 

Signing Sheed could turn out to be a great move. But at this time of year, everyone gets carried away with free agent and trade scenarios. (Sign BBD, sign Sheed and sign Barnes, then trade for Bosh!!!). Everything is more complicated than it sounds. 

(On the bright side, we didn’t just blow our cap space on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva! Go UConn!).

  • Ryan

    God Knows what the Pistons are doing. Are they trying to put together a team to win 43 games and lose in the first round of the playoffs every year?

  • John

    If Sheed ends up with the Celtics I'm officially done with Ainge and co. That's a crap signing. It just is. A non-move would be far more preferable… or ANYONE ELSE.

  • http://espn josh

    why would this deal be crap marbury is a bigger head case then sheed and steph didnt cause one problem wit the celts so i think this will be a great move if they got sheed he would be the sixth man and would give kg and perk some rest wen needed

  • rob

    I agree. this could be a huge pick-up. he can give the C's every thing they need. spacing on the floor on offense and a good post defender. Powe won't be back, who knows whats going to happen with Big Baby. Sheed would give the C's a nice three man rotation at the 4 &5 with KG and Perk

  • http://espn.com Roy

    Sheed is a solid pick. There is no loss on the floor when he comes in off the bench. On the contrary they can make an offensive push at that time. If we sign him we have to sign starbury. We will need a back up point and who better than him. I'm convinced that that wasnt the true starbury that we saw last year. He was rusty, hesitant and scared to make a mistake. Expect this year to be completely different now that he will know the offense. Lets make it happen Danny. Something needs to happen fast while they're still names out there, the east has blown already.

  • http://espn.com Roy

    blown up already*

  • Jeff

    Sheed will help with the height problem we had in the playoffs. And just like KG has an outside shot an even farther outside shot. They should still go after Powe and let Big Baby go. I really like the way Powe plays and the have to sign maurbury no starbury crap that was a few years ago. He won't be no star bench player. He needs to get his confidence back in his shot and make a few more smarter plays and he will be a solid backup PG. Then the SF backup how about Ariza I'm sure he wants payback on the Lakers for the pity contract they gave him. He said he will except the same little wage with other teams just to play them.

  • JE33

    I'm going to play devils advict for a second here for John..Ive been a Celtic fan since 85, and if i had to pick a team in the west it would be the Suns problably because of thier finals run with Barkley and the recent teams that have given the Lakers such fits..So i've had deal with danny for a long time.. Danny Ainge has done some stuff that has really chapped my hide including him being trigger happy as a player, and not resigning J.Posey last year.. But we also have him to thank for Rondo(swiped him from the Suns);and of course the big three..Banner 17 worth all of it.. Thanks Danny..

  • JE33

    Now back to the Rasheed matter.. They do need some more scoring of the bench for sure and another capable big man would be great..I question how it will work out to but that may be one of our only options with what we have to work with..A NONE MOVE IS NOT BETTER..Did you watch Mikki Moore last year..Powe is gone..Tony Allen is busted, and then there is Scal(sorry Scal)..So unless Birdman(great D not a scorer), Ariza or Marion fall in our lap this might be our best move..I'm problably dreamin, but i would love to see them package Tony and Scal for somebody like Ryan Gomes(former Celtic); or John Salmons..I wouldnt even mind that trade for Tony Battie(former celtic); whose just got traded to a team with a bunch of bigs, and his contract expires next year..that would still leave us with the MLE to offer Rasheed or someone else..

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    It is very definite that Rasheed Wallace is not going to come to Boston and start at center. Kendrick Perkins has worked too hard and knows the defensive schemes too well to become a bench player.. Thanks for sharing this great artic

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