Celtics get ‘Sheed… More NBA free agents

The Detroit Pistons had room under the salary cap to sign Rasheed Wallace after reaching agreements with Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon last week — but the Celtics had something the Pistons could no longer offer: A shot at the NBA championship.

And another of the NBA’s best teams will get better. The Boston press reported last night that the Celtics had reached an agreement with the Pistons forward-center.  The Celtics would not be denied. This from Peter May’s report:

Ainge brought out the full arsenal in an all-out assault on Wallace, enlisting Kevin Garnett (a Wallace chum), Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to make the recruiting pitch. The money was pretty much the same, but, once again, the Celtics’ owners stepped up, mindful the team already is over the luxury-tax threshold. That means Wallace will cost $2 on the dollar. Not every owner would do that; most, in fact, would probably reject it out of hand. Having won once, however, has given the Celtics’ owners the appetite for more.

Somehow I doubt the money was the same. Boston will pay Sheed the mid-level exemption next season ($5.8 mill) whereas Detroit had much more to offer: The Pistons are still about $17m away from tax territory — after the Gordan and Villanueva deals. And with the signing of Charlie and Gordon, gunners more than defenders, and the loss of Amir Johnson to the Bucks, the Pistons needed Sheed’s inside presence more than ever. However, it appears that Detroit never had much of a chance.

Orlando, San Antonio and Dallas were other teams with meetings scheduled with Wallace’s agent — Sheed was going to a title contender while the Pistons slid toward mediocrity.

A talent-rich get richer trend has hit the NBA, with the elite teams getting better. Teams such as the Bucks and now, even the Pistons, having little or no hope of competing for the league’s best veterans when the contenders are in the mix.  The league is as loaded at the top as it’s ever been, with Shaq in Cleveland; the Lakers adding Ron Artest; the Spurs improving with Richard Jefferson; and the Magic getting Vince Carter (but apparently losing Hedo Turkoglu).

But for now let’s go to the Need4Sheed blog for the Detroit reaction:

“Some will even give you the obligatory ‘You can launch your three’s and not play in the paint for another team, thanks for mailing in the last season Sheed.’

But to most Pistons fans we are thankful to him for putting our team over the top in 2004, allowing us a Championship we won’t soon forget.”

They’re going to miss him. And if Pistons fans are under any illusions that Charlie Villanueva’s going to fill Sheed’s sneakers, they are going to be very disappointed.

I just realized I’ve been spelling Hedo Turkoglu’s name wrong all year. Sorry dude.

Look who opted out of their contracts:

Cleveland: Anderson Varejao
L.A. Clippers: Brian Skinner
Orlando: Hedo Turkoglu

Philadelphia: Royal Ivey

Royal Ivey? Brian Skinner? There’s no keeping a former Buck happy, apparently. I wouldn’t mind having either of those guys back in Bucks uniforms, especially after John Hammond blew some $2.5 million and counting replacing Ivey with first Tyronn Lue and then Keith Bogans.

Skinner’s a rugged big forward who had perhaps his best season as a pro with the Bucks in 2003-04 and was back for the 2006-07 season. He’s 32 now and no longer commanding a mid-level exception-sized contract. Or maybe he thinks he does.

Ivey made less than $1 million in Philly last season and is obviously looking for a raise. He was a key part of the Sixers crunchtime rotation, burning the Bucks last season with some late 3-balls to steal a game the Bucks had in their grasp. Good D and point guard court sense make Ivey a very useful guy to have around, especially when developing younger point guards (Sessions and Jennings). I still have no clue why Hammond didn’t resign him to the Bucks last summer. He could have saved some of Herb’s money AND retained a guy who contributed more last season to the playoff Sixers than Lue or Bogans did on the Bucks.

Ruben Patterson, free agent againEven more free agents still unsigned

What an abundance of players — too many to list here – but Sham’s got ’em here.  Some of the players on Sham’s list, such as Sheed and Charlie Villanueva have reached agreements but most of the guys on the list haven’t. Everybody on sham’s list is unrestricted. (Notice how Ramon Sessions or Ersan Ilyasova are NOT on the list. That’s because they’re not free agents. The Bucks filed qualifying offers to both players, which means they are Bucks unless the Bucks decide not to match whatever offers they receive from other teams).

Here are a few notables from the NBA free agent wire, and some oddities, too:

Point guards Andre Miller (Sixers) and Mike Bibby (Hawks) are still out there.

Hey, former Buck Joe Smith’s a free agent after joining the Cavs for the 2009 playoffs.

Of course, there’s Trevor Ariza, the Lakers versatile guard who’s apparently been replaced by Ron Artest.

Brandon Bass, a good, young big forward who played in Dallas is an unrestricted free agent.

Keith Bogans and Damon Jones, two 2009 Bucks are free agents. Antoine Walker’s free, and gladly accepting any and all calls (don’t do it GM Hammond).

Wes Matthews, Jerel McNeal and Dominic James from Marquette are all free after going undrafted. McNeal might be a nice pick-up at shooting guard.

Everybody from Matt Barnes (Phoenix forward) to Bonzi Wells (former Trailblazer guard) and Chris Wilcox (OK City PF) are looking for new contracts.

And yes, Bucks fans: Ruben Patterson is once again a free agent.

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