Rasheed Wallace came back from a two year retirement to play for Mike Woodson who he knew from his days with the Detroit Pistons. The signing was considered an afterthought. Wallace was basically the last or second to last roster spot and after two years off he couldn't be an impact player any longer right? Well, he was.
Wallace was hitting three's and playing defense. However, the fairy tale story ended after only 21 days. After an extensive rehab process Wallace called it quits and retired from the NBA for a second time. However, that might not be the end of his story in New York.
After Rasheed Wallace announced his retirement from the New York Knicks and the NBA in mid-April he remained with the team as a player adviser. He was seen on the sidelines, on the bench and in the huddles instructing players, encouraging them and basically acting as an assistant coach.
When Knicks 101 reported back in late November that Wallace may have a future in coaching, many laughed it off. However, no one has been more of a supporter of Wallace than Mike Woodson. Would it really surprise anyone to see Wallace back in a similar role next season? Would it surprise anyone to see Wallace hired as an assistant on Woodson's staff?
Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork reports that Wallace hasn't yet decided on his future with the Knicks.
"Right now, I don't know," said Wallace, who will maintain his New York residence during the offseason. "It's still a long summer; it's just getting started. Right now, it's family time — just being with my kids."
Clearly everyone would have liked to see Wallace do more in a Knicks uniform. He was impactful in his 21 games with the team before injuring his left foot. However, he was still able to impact his teammates with his defensive knowledge and vocal leadership from the bench.
Wallace was seen working with veterans and rookies alike. He taught 13 year veteran Kenyon Martin different defensive moves and how to set and deal with screens better. He also helped groom promising rookie Chris Copeland and helped him improve his shooting off picks and his play on the defensive end of the court.
Wallace's ability to get through to both veterans and youngsters is a valuable commodity for any coaching staff. The fact he commands the respect of players and coaches alike is also rare. Especially for someone viewed as such a loud-mouth knucklehead during his early playing days.
Let's be honest, there aren't many people who have been given as many technical fouls or thrown out of as many games as Wallace has. If he's to stick around on the sidelines he'll have to temper those emotions because the Knicks can't afford the cost of technicals from the bench.
That being said, Wallace's basketball knowledge, vocal leadership and player respect are valuable to the Knicks. That's even more true after the retirement of Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas and Wallace himself. Add that to the very real chance that the Knicks could lose Martin and Pablo Prigioni to free agency and all of a sudden the Knicks are a lot younger and inexperienced going into next season. In the long run, Wallace could be more valuable for New York on the bench than he ever was on the court for them.