Source: 'Sheed back to Pistons

Updated: July 23, 2004, 5:20 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

DETROIT -- Rasheed Wallace helped transform the Detroit Pistons from contenders to NBA champions last month. Now, he's coming back for more.

The unrestricted free agent forward has agreed to a five-year contract worth $57 million, a source told ESPN Insider Chad Ford on Wednesday.

The Pistons confirmed that there is a deal in place on Thursday, and called a news conference for 11 a.m. ET Friday to announce the signing.

Wallace, who made $17 million last season, was acquired in a three-team deal Feb. 19 to put the Pistons over the top. And he did.

They were a good team without Wallace, ranking among the top teams in the Eastern Conference with a 34-22 record. They were 20-6 in the regular season and 16-7 in the playoffs after adding him.

The Pistons beat the Los Angeles Lakers in five games for their third title, and first since 1990.

Wallace's statistics were not always impressive -- he averaged 13 points, 7.8 rebounds and two blocks in the playoffs -- but his impact almost always was.

The 6-foot-11, 230-pounder made a stingy defense one of the best in league history and an average offense better.

Wallace averaged 16 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 blocks last season, his ninth in the NBA.

The Philadelphia native spent two years at North Carolina before being taken by Washington with the fourth overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft.

Wallace was traded to Portland following his rookie year and spent the next seven-plus seasons with the Trail Blazers. With an expiring contract, they traded Wallace to Atlanta, where he stayed for one game before he was dealt to Detroit just before the trading deadline.

Wallace also kept his cool when he arrived.

He was called for just two technicals in the postseason, a total that may have shocked some who followed his career in Portland.

Wallace broke his own NBA record with 41 technical fouls during the 2000-01 season, and was once suspended for seven games for threatening an official after a game. That was the league's longest suspension for something that didn't involve physical contact or substance abuse.

Wallace didn't have any problems with the Pistons.

In fact, few athletes in Michigan became popular as quickly as he did.

Wallace almost instantly became adored, a fact heard at home games each time he touched the ball as the crowd shouted: "Sheeeeeed!"

"It feels good when they do that," Wallace said during the NBA Finals.

Wallace, who turns 30 before next season, will be one of five returning starters for the NBA champion Pistons. He will be backed up by Antonio McDyess, who was signed to replace Mehmet Okur.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.