Grantland’s Zach Lowe, in praising the play of Kenyon Martin, does rightly ask why the Knicks have been so reticent to replace Rasheed Wallace on the roster. Wallace has been missing since being diagnosed with a fracture in his foot back in February, and though there was a faint hope he might be able to return by the playoffs, it’s hard to imagine how at that point he’d be able to contribute in any meaningful way.
Martin is essential in part because of New York’s bizarre refusal to waive Rasheed Wallace. In 20 games to which the MSG Network will someday devote a hagiographic one-hour special, Sheed provided solid defense, shockingly good work on the boards, the expected chucking from long range, and some glimpses of his once-potent post game. But he’s hurt now, he’s not coming back, and the Knicks hung on to him for reasons only Mike Woodson really understands — even though half the team’s roster is either ancient, injured, or D-League-caliber.
It’s funny, I did sort of read this and think, “Oh right, Rasheed is still on the team. Weird.”
I’d be much more inclined to chalk this up as no big deal had we not just seen how a late-season addition can actually have a big impact. I mean, obviously, anyone you’d replace Wallace with at this point is someone who hasn’t been on an NBA roster all season, but the Knicks just added someone exactly like that in Kenyon Martin and he’s been a gigantic boost for them during an eight-game winning streak. Even if a move is not likely to pay big dividends, there doesn’t really seem to be a reason to waste a roster spot on Wallace.
I have no doubt that Woodson has an affinity for Wallace, I think most of us do. He’s such a goofy, lovable character, and his play early in the year was one of the more surprisingly fun aspects of the season, but those days are now long gone. And considering how little the Knicks have gotten from Marcus Camby this year, adding another big body in Rasheed’s stead possesses a certain amount of logic.
Again, I don’t want to be seen as making too much of a deal over this, as I don’t think it’s going to seriously alter the team’s prospects either way, but it does strike me as sort of weird and would be curious to know more of the rationale behind it.