Boston Celtics Have a Gerald Wallace Problem
The Boston Celtics made a trade. On the night of the 2013 NBA Draft the Celts agreed to a deal that sent away Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets. Much has been said and written about what the Celtics gave up in that trade, largely because of what Pierce and KG meant to Boston, but far less has been said about what they got in return.
Probably the biggest reason why no one talks about what Boston got in return for their stars is the fact that it’s a relatively unexciting package designed to help them tank this season and build for the future. No one is getting excited about MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace and three first-round picks.
While those picks are going to valuable for the rebuilding process, while Humphries isn’t an awful deal since his contract is expiring, and while Brooks, Bogans and Joseph are potential trade chips, Wallace presents an enormous problem for the Celtics going forward.
Obviously the Celtics would love to put him out on the floor and possibly make him a part of their future. However, considering that Wallace’s production has been steadily declining over the past four seasons. Over those four seasons, his points and rebounds per game along with his PER have gotten lower in every season, all the way down to last season in Brooklyn when he averaged only 7.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 30.1 minutes per game while shooting only 39.7 percent from the field.
Wallace has always been a player that has derived his success from his physicality and his athleticism. However, at 31 years old, those traits are starting to fail him. Because of that he’s no longer an effective player in this league. He’s obviously not part of Boston’s long-term plans, meaning that they would love to trade him, but that’s much easier said than done.
To trade Wallace, the Celtics will have to find a team willing to take on one of the worst contracts in the league. Over the next three seasons, Wallace is due over $30 million. That’s a lot of money and time to commit to a player who doesn’t appear like he’s going to contribute much over the remainder of his contract.
Perhaps the Celtics will find a team that is willing to take on Wallace’s salary, but that seems unlikely. The more likely solution is that they will have to build a team in spite of Wallace’s deal over the next few years until they can dump his expiring deal heading into the 2015-2016 season. Even though that’s a solid solution, Wallace is going to be a burden in Boston.