At What Point Would Knicks Consider Pulling Plug on Rasheed Wallace?

Rasheed Wallace’s short Knicks tenure since coming out of retirement to join the team has been quite the interesting one so far.

Besides claiming to have the bark behind the famous phrase, “Ball Don’t Lie,” the big man has gone from sitting out while he got himself into game shape, earning that coveted fifteenth roster spot, rising up from the Brian Scalabrine of the Knicks to finally emerging as the same influential player he’s been known to be over his career. Though he began to thrive as a key player in New York’s rotation, Wallace has sat out with an injury that’s caused him to miss almost twenty games. There’s no concrete word as to when he’ll eventually return.

There’s no denying that even as he sits out, the fiery forward’s presence is still felt by his teammates. According to other players on the squad, Wallace is constantly speaking up and stays in everyone’s ear by providing worthwhile basketball insight. His relationship with Coach Mike Woodson may have very well initially earned him a spot on this team, but as he remains sidelined, it may be his rapport with his new teammates that keeps him there.

His value to the team is obvious, but at what point will the cons (his nagging injury) outweigh the pros with regard to reserving a spot on the team for Wallace? With an older roster, the Knicks always appear to be dealing with a bevy of both short-term and long-term injuries. As Coach Woodson looks to come up with different lineups to make sure his team copes with such absences in the best ways possible, perhaps his options are a bit limited because of the spot Wallace occupies as a player who is out indefinitely.

New York hasn’t exactly provided a timetable for Wallace’s return thus far. That said, the forward failed to practice again on Tuesday, and Woodson mentioned he was unsure whether or not Wallace (and Marcus Camby, for that matter) returns prior to the NBA All-Star Break. This, of course, comes from our buddy Ian Begley of ESPN New York.

With players like Kurt Thomas, Chris Copeland, and James White being rotated in and out of the starting lineup to fill certain voids, it’s been silly to think the Knicks won’t explore any and all different scenarios as they relate to team improvement leading up to the trade deadline.

Perhaps when looking out for an extra shooting guard or even Kenyon Martin, will the team choose to sacrifice Thomas, a completely healthy body, in a potential trade? With a full roster, the Knicks would need to give up somebody to bring someone else in.

Instead of perhaps dealing Thomas or another smaller piece, when (or will) does New York considering releasing Wallace in order to be able to sign someone else who can make more frequent contributions on the court?

Obviously the status of Wallace’s health in the weeks to follow will dictate what happens, but should he fail to return to the court, it’ll be interesting to see what the Knicks opt to do.

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