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Ben Wallace Given 52 Million Reasons To Sign With Bulls

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Dear Detroit: We sincerely hope your reign as an Eastern Conference superpower was fun. Because now you officially have no dominant center.

Ben Wallace, the Pistons' four-time Defensive Player of the Year and this offseason's most coveted free agent, is reportedly signing with the Chicago Bulls, much to the delight of Bill Swerski's Super Fans.

An accurate projection of Ben Wallace as a Bull.ESPN's Chad Ford is telling all of us that the deal is worth $52 million over four years. That'll buy a lot of Polish sausage — specifically $2.4 million more links than he could have purchased had he accepted Detroit's offer.

It's odd that Ben Wallace didn't like the four year, $49 million deal but (reportedly) likes $52 million enough over that same timeframe to drive down I-94 and change jerseys.

But with this signing, the Bulls are in great shape. Their incumbent starting center, 7'1" Tyson Chandler can now settle in as the backup center while Wallace swats away shots in a division he's accustomed to dominating. Alongside Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich in the backcourt and No. 2 No. 4 draft pick Tyrus Thomas at power forward, the young Bulls with Ben Wallace are a frightening team that could — gasp — compete this year. They took the recently-crowned champion Miami Heat to six games in the first round, so it's definitely plausible for Chicago to contend for the Eastern title.

Meanwhile, the Pistons are in trouble. All they had to do was retain the league's best defensive player and they didn't do it. The only center on their current depth chart is 37-year-old fossil Dale Davis. A forward-center combination of Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess is good but not great. They drafted 7'1" Senegalese center Cheik Samb in the second round, however, but his talent is about as raw as a frozen pie crust.

The two best centers still available in the free agent market are Joel Przybilla and Nazr Mohammed. They're 6th and 7th respectively on ESPN.com's Chad Ford's list of top free agents, but Wallace was No. 1 on that list. Even if they ink a deal with some other established center, it's just not the same.

This is indeed a sad day for Detroit sports fans. First Steve Yzerman retires from hockey, then this. At least they have the first-place Detroit Tigers.

Update: The deal is reportedly worth closer to $60 million, not $52 million. That makes a little more sense.

Update Numero Dos: The Pistons came to terms with former San Antonio Spurs center Nazr Mohammed on a 5-year, $30 million deal. He's by no means Ben Wallace, but he was part of the 2004-05 championship Spurs team and can defend modestly well.

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  • http://secondvibe.blogspot.com Q Bit

    Anothe case of eating up the salary cap with a superstar in decline.

    True, Big Ben was the anchor in Detroit, but it’s also true he’s getting older, he’s an offensive liability and he has a bad hairdo.

    And remember Big Ben is a weak side shot blocker, so he may not be as effective in Bulls as he was in Detroit–because it was easier for him to stay on the ground when everyone around him played choking defense, something that cannot be said about the not so baby Bulls. Skiles might disagree but Bulls are not consistent defensively.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    You’re right, Q, he is quite horrible.

    I know what you mean though. He’s on the wrong side of 32 and his stock will go down. And weak side blocking? Everyone has an Achilles’ heel. He won those four awards in the very same division he’ll inhabit the next four years.

  • Tamara Stack

    I have been A Ben Wallace fan for a long time and i am very dissaponted he is leaveing the Detroit Pistons. Even though i can understand why the Bulls would want him. He’s a great defence player. But as a dissapontment because many fans don’t want to go with him. it wont be the same.

  • India

    The only reson Ben has won defensive player of the 4 times in a row was because of his Detroit Pistons team mates how they helped him on defense and offense. Now he can fear his own fro!!

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Well, now they have Mohammed, so it’s something.