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Chat with Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace Wallace
Chris Wallace, who enters his fourth season as general manager of the Celtics, has been instrumental in the formation of Boston's young nucleus with a number of trades, free agent signings and solid draft choices.

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Last season, Wallace signed CBA star Adrian Griffin and watched him emerge as an opening day starter. This offseason, Boston drafted UCLA forward Jerome Moiso and acquired a slew of veteran guards, including Robert Pack, Chris Carr and Randy Brown.

And don't forget the biggest coup for Wallace and Coach Rick Pitino: drafting Paul Pierce when he slipped to the 10th selection of the 1998 Draft.

Here's what Wallace said during a Sept. 13 chat:

vic at noon ET
Will the Celtics have salary cap room next season to pursue free agents?

Chris Wallace at 12:02 p.m. ET
The prospects for the Celtics to have cap room to pursue free agents for the 2001-02 season is unlikely. We're already obligated to contracts for players who are currently on the roster.

Derek from Mattapan, Mass. at 12:04 p.m. ET
Derek's question comes to us via

How do you feel about the Celtics' chances of pulling off a sign-and-trade to land a key free agent at the end of next season?

Chris Wallace at 12:06 p.m. ET
When talking about next summer, it's too early to speculate. One thing I can say is that the free agent group for next summer does not look strong on a league-wide basis.
Alex at 12:04 p.m. ET
How does Chris Carr fit in this team?

Chris Wallace at 12:07 p.m. ET
We're excited about Chris Carr's arrival, for a number of reasons. Our bench lacked consistent scoring last season; Chris should alleviate that. Secondly, we've had trouble in the past any time Paul Pierce goes down with an injury. So Chris can provide some firepower if that situation happens again.

Third, Chris has gone back and forth between guard and forward. We want to see if he can establish himself at shooting guard; that might free up Pierce to spend more time at small forward.

Mark in Columbus, Ohio at 12:08 p.m. ET
Chris, what can you tell us about the progress of Jerome Moiso, and what can we expect from Jerome this season? I'm excited about his potential.

Chris Wallace at 12:09 p.m. ET
We haven't seen Jerome since July. He went home to France for a wedding, and he's been tied up in getting ready to move to Boston. We'll probably see him next week.

Jerome is a high-level athlete. He has "length," which means he has wingspan and can block shots. Now, Jerome is a work-in-progress, as most rookies are. He's going to have to get stronger and develop consistency. But we're excited over his potential. Initially, we think he's going to help us on the second unit.

John M. -Providence at 12:10 p.m. ET
Do you feel that the center position will continue to be a weakness this year? Will the addition of Mark Blount help?

Chris Wallace at 12:11 p.m. ET
It's a weakness if you mean we don't have one of the top five to seven centers in the league. But 20 other teams are in that position, too.

We have three centers -- Vitaly Potapenko, Tony Battie, Blount -- who can more than hold their own, unless they're going against the elite centers. Our centers are more than adequate, and they have room for growth.

As far as Mark Blount is concerned, Mark is what you call a "project plus." He's bounced around a bit since leaving Pittsburgh early, but Mark has talent. There's a realistic chance to expect that Mark can become a viable player in this league over the next two years.

Mike Daniel at 12:12 p.m. ET
What do you think about the new-look Magic and how they will match up against your team and the rest of the Eastern Conference?

Chris Wallace at 12:14 p.m. ET
The Orlando Magic have done some interesting things by creating the salary cap room they had and then bringing in two intriguing talents, Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady. They have a tremendous young coach in Doc Rivers, as well.

As far as the East, I feel there's more opportunity for teams to move up than in the West. I could call the East the "land of opportunity." We have a chance to make a run at the playoffs. A lot of that will depend on how we start, because the Celtics have a favorable schedule the first two months. Second, we need to do well on the road. At home, I felt the Celtics were a playoff team last season.

Haystack from Portland at 12:14 p.m. ET
This question comes to us via

I am concerned with the trade rumors involving Antoine Walker. Although sometimes his judgment on the court can be questionable, to me he seems immensely talented and he's still very young. Is there any reason for the Celtics not to build around him for the future?

Chris Wallace at 12:15 p.m. ET
Antoine Walker is potentially one of the outstanding young players in the game, and I don't want to comment on any rumors that have been thrown around about him or anyone else. We're optimistic about Antoine's future as an NBA player, and we're excited to see what he does this year.

We feel Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce are two exciting building blocks for the future.

Yogi from Andover, Md. at 12:15 p.m. ET
Yogi's questions comes to us via

What do you plan to do with the three first-round draft picks for next season?

Chris Wallace at 12:17 p.m. ET
Let me clarify that: We'll go into the 2001 Draft with two picks, and maybe three. We have our own pick and one from the Danny Fortson trade. Going back a year ago, to the Ron Mercer trade, the Celtics have the possibility to receive Denver's pick if it's outside the top five. If Denver is picking one through five in the Draft, we don't get the pick.

It's early to say exactly what direction we'll go in without seeing a college practice or game yet, but the prospect of multiple picks is intriguing. We like to have options and flexibility. As a team that's likely to be over the cap for the next few years, the draft is important for getting talent, i.e. Paul Pierce.

stephanie kostrzewa at 12:18 p.m. ET
I would like to know what the hardest part of your job is and also if there was one player that you absolutely would've loved to sign but were unable to?

Chris Wallace at 12:20 p.m. ET
The one player we wanted to get but couldn't is Dirk Nowitzki. But Nowitzki, in essence, got us Paul Pierce, because he was drafted right in front of Paul, which pushed him back. So that was a more than satisfactory consolation for us.

The hardest part of the job is dealing with the reality that you can't look at trading and free agency situations just in terms of the talent involved. You also have to take into account the financial ramifications for the franchise, plus the salary cap. So this isn't rotisserie; you can't be like a kid in the candy store, taking everything you want.

E.L. Hewitt at 12:20 p.m. ET
Are the Celtics interested in Chris Mullin now that he has been waived by Indiana?

Chris Wallace at 12:21 p.m. ET
We'd have to wait until he clears waivers before considering it.

But he wouldn't be wearing (John Havlicek's) No. 17! That's probably the hardest thing about bringing a new player in; we have a host of retired numbers, so we often can't give players the numbers they want.

goldensiu at 12:23 p.m. ET
After acquiring Randy Brown's services, I was surprise to see the Celts trading for Robert Pack, another guard. Why not go after an athletic big man such Adonal Folye, a player who can provide a defensive presence in the middle? Doesn't Pitino's defensive system calls for a big man who can block and rebound?

Chris Wallace at 12:24 p.m. ET
We think we have some big men who can block shots and rebound, in Tony Battie and Mark Blount. And with the timing of it, we signed Randy Brown before the Danny Fortson trade brought Pack to us.

We're excited to have both of these guys, Brown and Pack, because we feel we need three point guards in this system.

Celtics Pride at 12:25 p.m. ET
Chris, how does someone become a general manager of an NBA team? How did you start?

Chris Wallace at 12:26 p.m. ET
Well, the most important prerequisite to becoming a general manager is that the person who has the job gives it to you. It isn't a job that requires a license, an internship, etc.

I didn't grow up dreaming of being a general manager in the NBA. It's something that happened by chance. But once I entered the league at a very low level with Portland in 1986, I quickly became hooked on the league. I felt like I found my calling.

Jeff at 12:26 p.m. ET
Do you enjoy working with Rick Pitino and do all the players like him as well? And is his spaghetti sauce as good as they say?

Chris Wallace at 12:27pm ET
I have to admit: I haven't sampled his spaghetti sauce yet. There are so many great Italian restaurants in Boston, I prefer to sample the food in restaurants.

He's great to work for. He has a non-stop supply of energy that keeps things moving and upbeat at all times. And he's so competitive, he's constantly on the search to get better, and he implores everyone in the organization to do the same.

Mark in Columbus, Ohio at 12:28 p.m. ET
Chris, can you once and for all answer the questions about Josip Sesar? What is his contract status, and when can we expect to see him in Celtic green? The scouting reports on him suggest he could be a valuable role player.

Chris Wallace at 12:29 p.m. ET
Well, Josip has one year remaining with his contract with Cibona of the Croatian league. So the earliest you'd see Josip in Boston is the 2001-02 season. We knew that when we drafted Josip, and we took it into consideration.

This year, we'll be evaluating Sesar to see if he fits into our plans for the next year.

Chris Wallace at 12:31 p.m. ET
I believe the Celtics are going to be an improved team this year. Our second unit is going to be better offensively than a year ago. The team's athleticism is going to be enhanced. Our perimeter defense will be better because of Randy Brown, he'll provide more veteran leadership than we had last year.

I'd like to thank and congratulate the legion of Celtics fans for their support over the years, and we hope to have their support in the future.

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