Saturday, November 25, 2006
Updated: November 26, 4:50 PM ET
Big Ben, Skiles play head(band) games
ESPN.com news services
Ben Wallace was the premier free-agent acquisition this offseason, but the Bulls and their $60 million man are off to a rocky start.
Bulls coach Scott Skiles pulled Wallace only 2:02 after tip-off on Saturday against the New York Knicks because the center broke a team rule prohibiting the wearing of headbands.
A number of assistant coaches spoke with the player on the bench, but he waited until only 2:41 remained in the first quarter before removing the headband. Skiles put him back in the game, but Wallace put the headband back on before the beginning of the second half and was not allowed to start. He relented again midway through the quarter and was inserted in the game.
This latest drama comes on the heels of Wallace going scoreless with no rebounds in only 19 minutes in a loss to the Sixers on Friday night. Skiles was asked if Wallace's attitude worried him.
"No," he told the paper after the game. "I don't know why. I'm just not."
Wallace didn't have much to say either.
"Ask [Skiles]," he said. "Coach makes the decisions. I just play."
Everyone isn't taking these actions in stride, however, especially considering that the Bulls' win over the Knicks on Saturday was their first and only victory on a seven-game road trip. The Bulls held a team meeting after the contest.
"We want to make sure everybody is on the same page," Kirk Hinrich told the Tribune. "Hopefully we will be. Ben wants to win just as much as anybody on the team. He has a track record. He has won a lot of games in this league. He has a championship. We're glad to have him. It's just something we need to work out."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.