The Celtics have been hot in their pursuit of Rasheed Wallace since the free agency period began yesterday and it appears they have wasted no time in making the big man an offer. Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald is reporting that Ainge is willing to offer Wallace a two year deal for the full mid level exception (5.8 million/year)
Marc Spears of The Boston Globe confirmed that a contract offer was made this afternoon after the two sides met in Detroit but did not cite any dollar figures or years. The Celtics were said to be represented by Danny Ainge and Wyc Grousbeck along with stars Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in an attempt to put a full court recruiting press on Rasheed to convince him to come play for the C’s. Other key notes from Spears’ report include
Wallace was in no rush to make a decision.
Other teams projected to be interested in his services are Charlotte, San Antonio, Orlando, and Cleveland.
CelticsHub’s Take: The biggest question to me about the C’s pursuit of Wallace was how many years the team would be willing to offer and it seems like this report has answered my question. Two years sounds like a fair number tome for an aging Wallace as it provides Rasheed with a little bit of security while not tying the C’s up in a long term deal for a player who may be all ready starting a steady decline as a productive player.
Given that all of the teams with interest in Wallace can only offer him the mid level exception, money will clearly not be a deciding factor in Wallace’s decision. It will likely all be about comfort level and the best chance to win a title when the former Piston star comes to terms on a deal. Ainge has clearly voiced this reality to his stars given their presence at today’s meeting in Detroit and the recruiting effort they are taking part in.
I think the best thing C’s fans can hope for right now is for Wallace to make a decision and make one quickly. Spears reported that Wallace was in no rush to make a deal but an extended delay by Rasheed ti naje a decusuib could be extremely damaging to the C’s in their free agent hunt to fill the rest of the bench. With the C’s entire MLE tied up with the Wallace offer, it limits other offers the team can sign other free agents to the veteran’s minimum.
The only way Boston will be able to help convince productive bench players such as Grant Hill to sign with the team is if they present the best option to win a Championship. A Wallace signing does that, but if it takes too long, the C’s could miss the boat on Hill and a lot of other attractive candidates that could adequately fill holes in their bench at the 3 spot.
Even worse, if Wallace turns down a C’s deal for elsewhere, and takes awhile to do it, there may not be anyone left worth paying some if not all of the mid level exception for. The Celtics are helped in this respect since it likely will be a tough market out there for a lot of the 2nd tier players but it’s evident from reports in the first two days of free agency that teams are moving quick with offers for the top players available like Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Marcin Gortat just to name a few. After one more week, the talent pool will be even thinner.
So kudos to Danny and the Big Three for trying to move quickly on Rasheed. Time will tell if it is enough for him to make a prompt decision.
For more Celtics Hub coverage of Rasheed’s production from last season and what kind of player he could be for the Celtics, be sure to check out Zach Lowe’s posts from the past couple days here and here.