Rasheed Wallace is flirting with the idea of making a comeback, and both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat have been linked as landing spots for the former power forward.
But which team is a better fit?
According to A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast Sports New England, Wallace is looking better than he has in years thanks to a special conditioning program. Nevertheless, he will be 37 come September, and may not be the same big body in the paint in terms of rebounding and blocking shots as he once was.
The Lakers are the ones that are looking to add depth to a weak bench, something Wallace can provide in more than one way. He can shoot, he can defend and he can emit leadership and competitiveness among everyone.
The Lakers are number one in the league in rebounds, 7th in points allowed and 11th in blocked shots per game, so Wallace wouldn't necessarily need to heavily contribute on the defensive end. However, his help there can still be beneficial.
Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol lead the team in both rebounds and blocks per game, while power forwards Troy Murphy (3.8 rebounds and 0.33 blocks per game) and Josh McRoberts (2.9 rebounds and 0.42 blocks per game) don't seem like viable enough backup big men that can do the same as their starting counterparts. Wallace might be a preferable backup option over the both of them, which would allow either, whoever should become the next option, to play more to their strength of an offensive game.
Additionally, the Lakers have 14 players on the roster, which translates to adding Wallace without having to worry about waiving a player to make room.
On the other hand, the Miami Heat, who Fox Sports Florida reports recently worked Wallace out, would have to waive a player to make room. They already have a big man rotation of Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, Eddy Curry, Dexter Pittman, Juwan Howard and Mickell Gladness, who all average 29 years of age. Of them, the Heat would most likely waive the 39-year-old Howard.
Contrary to not contributing too much on the defensive end for the Lakers, Wallace would probably serve best if he contributed a lot on that end with the Heat, who are in the middle of the league in rebounds and blocked shots. Offensively he can take a load off, though, since the Heat are number two in the league in points per game (102.9), number one in field goal percentage (48.5 percent) and number one in three-point field goal percentage (39.8 percent).
With all this said, Wallace would perhaps be a better fit in Miami, who seems to have a better chance of winning it all this year than the Lakers. There's never a surplus of scoring. So, even though the Heat are prolific at that already, Wallace's offensive repertoire wouldn't make it any worse.
Also, while the Heat defend well on the perimeter, their paint defense has possibly been the glaring weakness. Anthony, though a defensive-minded, athletic center is undersized at six-foot-nine. Wallace can act as a hybrid power forward-center that can either play with Anthony so as to not sacrifice athleticism or replace him in the middle so as to add size.
Wallace has averaged 14.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks during his career, having played for the Portland Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics. He also had a one-game stint with the Atlanta Hawks after Portland traded him in February 2004 before being traded a little more than a week later to the Detroit Pistons.