Wallace played in just 20 games this season, and was a long shot to contribute to the team at age 38. Signing Rasheed Wallace in the first place was a calculated risk for the Knicks, who went all-in this offseason with a slew of veterans like Wallace, Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, and Kurt Thomas. The Knicks are one of the oldest teams in NBA history by average age, and all of their veterans have missed time due to injury and ineffectiveness.
If this is the end of Rasheed Wallace’s career, it’s been quite the ride. The former Trailblazer star had a particularly memorable 2004 – he was traded from Portland to Atlanta, played one game for the Hawks, and was flipped to the Pistons, where he was a key piece in leading Detroit to an upset win in the NBA Finals over the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s declined in effectiveness ever since, and had been out of the league since 2010 before signing with the Knicks this summer.
In general, the Knicks have been fading for weeks, and their aging roster is just one reason. With a stuffed salary situation thanks to Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, the Knicks have had to fill out the rest of the roster with risks and roster fodder. They got incredibly lucky to resign gunner J.R. Smith for a bargain price, but they will have to keep rebuilding with spare parts for the next several years until Stoudemire comes off the books.
After a red-hot start, they’ve lost five of seven and drifted back into third place in the East. That would match them up with the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, who have already bested them three times this season and could get MVP Derrick Rose back soon.
Rasheed Wallace may be jumping ship at the right time, as this Knicks team may be in for a long, long spring.