Wallace, James available for Pistons after delay

Updated: February 22, 2004, 12:56 AM ET
Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Rasheed Wallace was cleared to play for the Detroit Pistons by the NBA on Saturday, one day after being pulled from a game because paperwork from a three-team trade had not been certified.

Wallace and Mike James, acquired in a three-way trade Thursday, were pulled at halftime of Friday's 88-87 loss to Minnesota and were not permitted to practice Saturday.

The holdup was the result of issues with the paperwork for two of the players involved in the deal: Lindsey Hunter and Chris Mills.

NBA spokesman Brian Flinn said Saturday the trade was "final and complete," and all players were eligible to practice and play with their respective teams.

The league said in a statement that signed certifications from the teams, players and agents involved in the trade were not completed and received by the NBA on Friday.

Pistons coach Larry Brown was informed shortly after Saturday's session that all problems were resolved and that Wallace and James would be available for Sunday's home game against Orlando.

"Everyone is good to go," Brown said. "Rasheed is going to start, but I'm not sure where yet, and Mike will give us some depth off the bench.

"Without him yesterday, we were down to two guards in the second half and all that changed the way we had to play."

Wallace played 12 minutes in the first half of Friday's game and James also got into the game before team president Joe Dumars was informed that the players were not eligible.

Wallace did not speak to the media before leaving the building, but James was happy to be an official member of the Pistons.

"I only felt like half a Piston until now," he said. The rest of the Pistons are happy that they will have a full roster to go against Tracy McGrady's Magic.

"It hurt us when we lost Rasheed last night -- he's a great player," Richard Hamilton said. "And Mike gives us a quality point guard off the bench who can come in and get us into our offense."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press