Does Gerald Wallace Fit Sixers Plan?


Feb 23, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Boston Celtics forward

Gerald Wallace

(45) against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Celtics defeats the Suns 115-110. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Does Gerald Wallace Fit Sixers Plan?

Most of the Philadelphia 76ers fan base already knows the answer to this one. But the 76ers fan-base is growing, and if there is the fan or two who does not know the method behind general manager Sam Hinkie’s madness, then this is a good time to review some NBA fundamentals.  It began with a July 1st trade that centered around the Sixers absorbing the salaries of Sacremento Kings players Carl Landry and Jason Thompson and in return acquired Nik Stauskas and draft pick considerations.

And so, the Sixers found themselves with another power forward/center type in Jason Thompson, who continued to be productive in a limited role in the NBA.   The move had a nice subplot which we discussed in a recent article. So the trade parked Thompson on the roster for a month.

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But the Golden State Warriors needed to reduce their salary, and they found themselves in the market for a power forward/center.  They had a player in Gerald Wallace, whose $40M contract signed in 2012/13 is now on the final year with a $10.1M salary hit.  The Warriors needed to shed that behemoth of a contract.  Hinkie?  Well, he’s always game for a salary dump, if you toss in draft picks.  Jake Hyman at the Hoops habit does a fine job of discussing the second trade in less than a month involving Jason Thompson.

The issue at stake for the rebuilding 76ers is not the salary cap nor the luxury tax.   The NBA requires teams to spend a salary floor.  By exploiting some unique rules in the NBA, the Sixers have managed to beat the system.   Wallace gives the Sixers that salary this year, and in the last year of his contract, he disappears from the salary role when the team is designed to load up on both draft picks and players.

But does Wallace have a shot to remain on this roster?  It may be a long shot, but the Sixers are filled with youth.   The team has forward Gerald Wallace, shooting guard Jason Richardson, and forward Carl Landry over age of 30 on the roster.  The majority of the team is in the 21-24 age group.  With a roster that is set with so many young players, there is always room for a veteran to act as an extension of the coaching staff.  With a salary of over $10M,  it would not be out of the question for that type of role to come into consideration for Wallace.

Wallace has a many storied career in the NBA.  He was the first and only player of the former Charlotte Bobcats to play in an NBA All-Star game, having been selected in 2010.  Wallace has excelled at times in both offense and defense – scoring 25 points in his first playoff game with Charlotte in 2009/10, while being named NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2010/11.  His physical style of play enabled him to get good numbers, but he inadvertantly earned the nickname “Crash” due to his frequent injuries. Check out this foul by Andrew Bynum, As a result, he suffered a collapsed lung and fractured rib.

Will the Sixers tap into this treasure trove of NBA history and knowledge? The odds are unlikely. But with so many players opting the fast track to the NBA, and with so much diversity of career tracks to getting to the team, it would make some sense to hold onto an asset like Wallace. Will he put up All Star numbers? Doubtful. But he could share his basketball history with so many players on the Sixers, and it might enable them to do so.

Either way, he gets paid $10M. Let’s make him work a little for it.

Next: Sixers Trade Hometown Favorite To Golden State