Detroit acquired two-time All-Star Rasheed Wallace on Thursday, Feb. 19, in a three-team deal that sent Chucky Atkins and Lindsey Hunter to Boston and Bob Sura, Zeljko Rebraca and Chris Mills to Atlanta. Detroit also landed Mike James and parted with two first-round picks.
The Pistons' stable of big men is now among the best in the NBA, as Wallace joins a frontcourt that includes two-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace and budding star Mehmet Okur. Corliss Williamson, former winner of the Sixth Man Award, adds muscle off the bench.
BACK IN PORTLAND
Rasheed Wallace returns to Portland when the Pistons face the Trail Blazers on Thursday, March 4: Tickets
"It gives us a real shot to compete at the highest level in the NBA right now," said Pistons president Joe Dumars, whose team was 34-22 at the time of the trade, six games behind Indiana in the Central.
Tayshaun Prince and Darvin Ham man the small forward spot for Detroit, although the versatile Wallace is capable of abandoning his natural power forward position and moving out to the wing.
Trading Atkins was essential for Detroit, because it cleared the salary cap space the team needs to try to re-sign Okur.
"It created cap space and we didn't mess with our core," Dumars said, "so it was a great deal for us."
Acquiring Wallace is a risk for the Pistons. He also will be a free agent this summer, and he has had his share of difficulties during his career, ranging from controversial statements this season to an abundance of technical fouls in past years.
"We know about all the issues," Dumars said. "(But) we feel this is a guy who can help us make a run when it comes to playoff time."
The first-round picks could obviously assist Boston and Atlanta. The Hawks also continued to clear cap space in moving Wallace and obtaining Mills, who hasn't played this season and whose contract expires at the end of the season.