Wallace lands in Detroit in three-team deal

Updated: February 20, 2004, 12:40 AM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Rasheed Wallace is headed to the Detroit Pistons, who only had to give up reserves and draft picks to land the frontcourt scorer they coveted.

Wallace was moved to Detroit in a three-team trade Thursday after playing only one game for the Atlanta Hawks, who acquired the temperamental player from Portland last week.

The two-time All-Star has averaged 16.1 points and 6.7 rebounds during nine NBA years and 17.1 points and 6.6 rebounds this season.

Dr. Jack on Wallace trade
This is definitely the biggest deal of the day. The Pistons received what they hope will be the key to the Eastern Conference in Rasheed Wallace. He gives them a dimension that's been missing from their team for quite some time: an experienced offensive big man who can also play good defense.

Wallace can shoot from outside, post up opposing big men and will give Ben Wallace much-needed help defensively in the low post. Before this trade, the Pistons had to slide a guard down to the low post to help out on the blocks. That won't be the case anymore.

With this trade, the Pistons improved themselves and are now able to match up much better with Indiana and New Jersey. On the flip side, the Celtics and Hawks both were able to create cap space for themselves. Neither is probably going to make the playoffs and are looking towards the future.

— Dr. Jack Ramsay

"It gives us a real shot to compete at the highest level in the NBA right now," Dumars said.

In a deal put together shortly before the NBA trading deadline, the Pistons sent center Zeljko Rebraca, guard Bob Sura and a first-round draft pick to the Hawks. That pick will come from Milwaukee this year if the Bucks make the playoffs.

Detroit also sent guards Lindsey Hunter, Chucky Atkins, its first round pick this year and cash to Boston, while the Celtics shipped forward Chris Mills to the Hawks and guard Mike James to the Pistons.

"That fact that we didn't have to break up our team and we were able to add the guy we did, it made it a no-brainer move for us," Dumars said. "It created cap space and we didn't mess with our core, so it was a great deal for us."

Besides adding Wallace, the deal will put Detroit about $10 million under the salary cap this summer.

Atlanta acquired Wallace from Portland to clear cap space and will now could be about $20 million under the salary cap after the season.

Sura has averaged 8.1 points and 3.5 assists during his nine-year career and Rebraca has averaged 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in three NBA seasons.

"I think this is what's best for the Hawks," Hawks general manager Billy Knight said. "I'm trying to build a team for the long haul in the best way possible. Rasheed's a heck of a player, but I think this is best for us and best for him."

Cleveland coach Paul Silas said he couldn't understand why the Hawks made the deal.

"That's going to make the Pistons awfully tough," Silas said. "I just don't know what some people are thinking about."

Atkins has averaged 6.3 points and 2.4 assists over five seasons while Hunter has averaged 10.3 points and three assists during his 11-season career.

"(Celtics executive director of basketball operations) Danny (Ainge) brought Chucky in here to be the starting point guard," Boston interim coach John Carroll said. "I don't think there was a question of if he was going to start."

Mills, whose contract expires after the season, has not played this season because of a heel injury after averaging 11.2 points during his first 10 years in the league.

Wallace, in the final year of a contract that pays him $17 million this season, was called for a league-record 41 technical fouls in the 2000-01 season. Last season, he and former Portland teammate Damon Stoudamire were cited in Washington state on marijuana charges while returning from a game in Seattle.

Wallace was also suspended by the NBA for seven games for threatening an official on an arena loading dock after a home game. That was the league's longest suspension for something that didn't involve physical contact or substance abuse.

Portland sent Wallace and Wesley Person to Atlanta on Feb. 9 for Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Theo Ratliff and Dan Dickau.

Dumars said Wallace's past problems never entered into his decision-making process.

"We know about all the issues," he said. "We feel this is a guy who can help us make a run when it comes to playoff time. We've said for a while now that we wanted to add an impact player, and we feel he's the type of guy who can impact our team."

Wallace is scheduled to have a news conference with Brown before the Pistons host Minnesota on Friday night.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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