According to Fred Kerber, the Nets have agreed to a 4-year/$40 million contract with forward Gerald Wallace. After last season, Wallace chose to opt out of his contract, which had 1 year remaining on it. After he chose to opt out, many people thought he did not want to play with the Brooklyn Nets and that the trade for Wallace was one of the worst in NBA history. Now, however, the trade does not look quite as bad.
Since coming to the Nets from Portland at the trade deadline last season, Wallace averaged 15.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.4 spg, and 0.7 bpg. He is a well balanced player, both on offence and defense, and he can even shoot 3’s. One problem with Wallace is that he will 30 years old in less than a month and has already played 10 NBA seasons. Some think his best years are behind him, and this may be true. One of his biggest assets is his athleticism, which may be in decline now and will definitely be in decline when this contract expires. However, it was still a crucial move for the Nets to retain Wallace, even if they overpayed him.
Now let’s look more closely at the Nets’ trade with Portland at the trade deadline and try to figure out who got the better deal. The Nets gave up Mehmet Okur, who did not play at all for Portland, Shawne Williams, who did not play at all last year and still has a year left on his contract, and the #6 overall pick, which turned into Damian Lillard. The Nets got Gerald Wallace, who resigned with them for 4 more years, and it would have been very unlikely for the Nets to sign Wallace if he was not traded to them at the deadline.
Shawne Williams is now an expiring contract, but Portland still would rather not have him, so the Nets should be happy about that. We have not yet seen Damian Lillard in an NBA game, but in my opinion, this pick was a big mistake and I don’t think he will be very good. He went to a very small college in Weber State, and I don’t think his game will transfer well to the NBA (although I could be wrong: Steve Nash went to Santa Clara). The Nets are in win now mode, and Wallace will be able to contribute and be a quality starter for at least the first two years of his contract, and I will be shocked if Lillard is more valuable to the Trail Blazers over that time.
We still don’t know who got the better side of this deadline deal, but the Nets should breathe a sigh of relief now that Wallace is locked up.