Bulls Sign Free Agent Ben Wallace
“We believe that Ben fits with our young players and that he will have a tremendous impact on and off the court, providing toughness and leadership,” said Bulls GM John Paxson.
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July 13, 2006 – The Chicago Bulls announced this afternoon the team has signed free agent forward Ben Wallace to a contract. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled that Ben is now officially a Bull. His track record speaks for itself and he brings us a tremendous presence on the basketball floor,” said Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson. “We believe that Ben fits with our young players and that he will have a tremendous impact on and off the court, providing toughness and leadership.”
The 6-9, 240-pound Wallace started all 82 games last year for Detroit, as well as all 18 playoff games. On the year, he averaged 7.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg (4th in the NBA), 3.7 orpg (1st), 2.21 bpg (9th), a career-best 1.78 spg (10th) and 1.9 apg in 35.2 mpg. He led the Pistons in rebounds in 59 games (50-9), recorded more blocked shots than the opposing team in 22 games (19-3) and posted 17 double-doubles (16-1). In recognition of his play, he was named an NBA All-Star for the fourth consecutive year and he earned the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award for the second year in a row and fourth time in five seasons (2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006).
“He continues to be one of the best defenders and rebounders in the game today, and his work ethic fits that of our coach, Scott Skiles,” added Paxson. “He knows what it takes to win and we're confident that he will come in and make an immediate impact on the Bulls organization. We feel very fortunate to be able to add Ben Wallace today."
A First Team member of the NBA All-Defensive Team fives years running, Wallace has earned All-NBA Second Team honors in 2003, 2004 and 2006 and All-NBA Third Team honors in 2002 and 2005. In his 10 years in the NBA, he has appeared in 698 regular season games (583 starts), and yielded career averages of 6.6 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 3.3 orpg, 2.29 bpg (17th in the NBA all-time), 1.34 spg and 1.3 apg in 31.1 mpg.
Wallace, 31, helped lead his team to the postseason each of the last five years, and reached the Eastern Conference Finals the last four years, including back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals in 2004 and 2005, culminated with Detroit winning the NBA Championship in 2004. In that time, he has played in 93 playoff games, all starts, and averaged 8.5 ppg, 13.3 rpg, 4.1 orpg, 2.31 bpg, 1.85 spg and 1.5 apg in 39.5 mpg.
He went undrafted following his senior season at Virginia Union in 1996, before signing with the Washington Bullets on Oct. 2, 1996. Following three seasons in Washington, on Aug. 11, 1999, Wallace was traded with forward/center Terry Davis, guard Tim Legler and guard Jeff McInnis to Orlando in exchange for center Isaac Austin. He spent one year with the Magic, before he and guard Chucky Atkins were sent to Detroit on Aug. 3, 2000, for forward Grant Hill.