Pistons hire Rasheed Wallace
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Former NBA player Rasheed Wallace has agreed to a two-year deal to join the Detroit Pistons' coaching staff and was on the bench Monday during the team's summer league game against the Boston Celtics.
Wallace retired at the end of last season with the New York Knicks after a 17-year playing career that also included stints with Washington, Portland, Atlanta, Detroit and Boston.
The Pistons and Wallace, 38, had been in discussions the past month about a player development role with the franchise he helped lead to an NBA championship in 2004.
A staff position materialized after Detroit hired Maurice Cheeks last month to replace Lawrence Frank as head coach. Cheeks confirmed to ESPN.com on Monday that the Pistons are working out the final details with Wallace on a role that will allow him to help develop Detroit's talented young post players in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.
"He's going to bring a lot of knowledge of how to help our young guys play on the block, because he's been around the league for, like, forever," Cheeks said Monday as he watched his team's summer league game. "With him having played that position for such a long time, I know he's going to be a great asset to what we're building."
"Obviously, he's had a lot of success in this league and he can teach you a lot about the game," Monroe said. "He's one of those guys who talks. He knows how to use his voice. I watched him when I was growing up, when he was in his prime. His experience and his knowledge is definitely going to help us out."
Wallace averaged 14.4 points and 6.7 rebounds during his career and was regarded as one of the best-shooting post players of his era. He scored 16,006 points, made 1,086 3-pointers and twice reached the NBA Finals with the Pistons.
Wallace also had a notorious reputation for being one of the most volatile and temperamental players in the league. He routinely led the league in technical fouls and finished with 317 for his career. Moments before his coaching debut Monday, Wallace said he was ready for a change of pace and joked he would remain calm in his new job.
"I'm not expending the energy out there, running back and forth, [telling referees], 'I'm out here busting my [tail] and you're not giving me a call,'" Wallace said about keeping his emotions in check as an assistant coach. "Being over there on the sideline, you try to be more of a motivational inspiration for the kids."
Wallace said he also had an offer to join the Knicks staff after the season, but chose the Pistons because the job also gave him more time to spend time with his children who live near Detroit. He also said it was beneficial to enter coaching right away because the players he'll be working with watched him in action as they were growing up.
"That's why Mo brought me on board," Wallace said. "I think it helps with me being a part of their generation, with them watching me as they were coming up as young ball players. That generation gap isn't as large as it would be if I retired in the early 1990s and tried to come back into coaching now. So it's not like, 'Well, you didn't do nothing. Who are you?' I've seen a lot of older coaches get disrespected like that, and you've had guys who won championships."
Wallace is the second player from the Knicks' roster last season to retire to enter the coaching ranks. Jason Kidd took over as Brooklyn's head coach last month and made his debut Sunday in the Orlando Pro Summer League.
Cheeks is confident Wallace can handle the assignment.
"He can make that transition," Cheeks said. "A lot of us, we didn't start out being a certain way we are right now. But change evolves you, and he's evolved. He realizes he's in the second phase of his life now. And now he's a coach. He has to make that transition, and I think he'll be fine."