These are the words of a man who doesn't want to be in Boston. He's embraced the city with his love for the Red Sox and the Patriots (duh, they're winning), but the Celtics are no where near those levels of success right now. I don't blame him. He's paid his dues in this league and every player that's reached his level deserves a shot at a title. He's always been a "100% guy" and any contender would be lucky to have him on their roster.
However, I have to disagree with Bulpett's take on Wallace's comments. Frankly, he is complaining. He's a squeaky wheel. At first, it seemed like he could be that needed veteran presence in the locker room. He said all the right things in the preseason and more so, showed it on the court, but after his comments following the home opener against Milwaukee, I feel like his words are falling on deaf ears. He accused his teammates of "playing selfishly and padding their stats" and that just wasn't true. The fact of the matter is, they played tentatively against the Bucks zone defense and crumbled under the pressure. That isn't selfishness. That's a young team figuring things out.
Wallace's words are just a canned response to losing. That isn't leadership. As vocal as Kevin Garnett was on the floor and in practice, his biggest influence on this franchise will be the things we didn't see. He was a sound bite machine, but he never whined about losing or blurted out these veiled, woe-is-me quotes. He's being a martyr and he knows it. His words:
It's hard. It's like starting from scratch zero with this team and trying to figure out what direction they're headed in and what pieces they're going to put together. For me, I've already been through that situation. I was on an expansion team in Charlotte. I've established myself. To have to start all over on a team that's starting from scratch is very difficult.
Lots of they's and I's in those sentences. For a guy pleading for his teammates to work harder as a team, I can't help but think his act is getting old in the Celtics' locker room. Instead of talking about how you've established yourself, help get this team over the hump. Boston has outscored their opponents in the first three quarters 284 to 271, only trailing Detroit going into the final frame. This is where some veteran leadership could help, from the bench, on the floor, before, after, and during the game.
Alas, Wallace has gone the route of a coward and through the press instead. If I'm Danny (and I'm sure he's already doing this and Bulpett confirms as much), it's time to find a new place for Crash to crash. Two suggestions: 1) OKC for Kendrick Perkins. Perk has voiced some displeasure with his situation as well and he'd be welcomed back with open arms. Financially, his contract is shorter and basketball-wise, the team could use another big man. 2) NYC for Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire's contract is just as ugly as Wallace's, but it could give Ainge a chance to deal Kris Humphries (or a Courtney Lee/Brandon Bass combo) as well. Doubtful that the Knicks bite on a deal like this, but they're self-proclaimed contenders and role players like that could really help.