And the newest Piston is...........
Big Ben Wallace is back in Detroit
Center/forward signs one-year deal with former team after three seasons playing elsewhere
FREE PRESS STAFF REPORTS • August 8, 2009
Ben Wallace is Goin' to Work again for the Pistons.
Whether it will be every night remains to be seen.
He has agreed to one-year contract for a veteran's minimum of $1.3 million, the Free Press learned Friday. Wallace, who turns 35 next month, is expected to sign next week.
Wallace's hard-nosed defense, fierce rebounding and mighty Afro became signatures for the franchise he helped to the NBA title in 2004. He left as a free agent after the 2005-06 season to join the Chicago Bulls.
Last season, he played for Cleveland but battled injuries and ineffectiveness and by the playoffs had lost his starting job. He averaged 2.9 points and 6.5 rebounds. Then he was traded to Phoenix as part of the Shaquille O'Neal deal.
His return to Detroit raises several questions:
• How much does he have left? The Suns chose to buy him out for $10 million rather than play him. Earlier this off-season, he mentioned the possibility of retiring.
His rebounding numbers have declined every season since 2003 and his scoring average every season since 2005.
• What role will he play? The Pistons have at least four big men ahead of him for center and power forward: Chris Villanueva, Chris Wilcox, Kwame Brown and Jason Maxiell.
In Detroit, the Pistons plan on using Wallace as a backup to Brown. The Pistons were especially thin on the front line last season and still believe Wallace can defend and rebound -- albeit not at the same pace as his last stint.
Maybe more important to the Pistons, Wallace can provide veteran leadership. Only two other Pistons, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, remain from the 2003-04 championship team.
• How will fans react? After he left for the Bulls, Big Ben was booed every time he came to the Palace. Maybe all will be forgiven and fans will bring their 'fro wigs out of storage.