Rasheed Wallace, who hasn’t played since Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, will come out of retirement to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to CSN New England.
The big question with Wallace, 37, given his status as one of the most skilled big men of his era and ability to shoot and defend, is whether he’s in shape to play. It’s the same question that dogged him during his final season with the Boston Celtics, who, according to CSN, had no interest in bringing him back. That apparently is not an issue—Wallace has reportedly worked out hard and is in better shape than he was before his retirement.
If Wallace indeed signs with the Lakers, the next question becomes whether the team is bringing him in as a potential replacement for Pau Gasol, who has been the subject of trade rumors and drama for the entire season. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said Monday that the team would continue exploring trade proposals after Kobe Bryant stated that it was time for the team to either move Gasol or take him off the block.
Gasol, in his 11th season is averaging a career-low 16.6 points and has said the rumors have bothered him. One Western Conference executive told Hoopsworld that the Lakers are overvaluing him.
“I doubt Pau goes anywhere,” the executive said. “I love Pau, but the Lakers are asking for way too much.”
Additionally, one front-office executive source told CSN that Wallace’s days as a starter are over—a fact that likely means that Gasol will be unaffected.
“His days as a starter in this league are gone,” said the source. “I think he knows that, and so do the Lakers. But think about it. Of the big men that are available, is there one that’s really better? And if he’s gotten himself in shape, adding him becomes a huge get for them.”
In 15 seasons with Washington, Portland, Atlanta, Detroit and Boston, Wallace averaged 14.6 points and 6.7 rebounds.