DETROIT (AP) - Rasheed Wallace helped transform the Detroit Pistons from contenders to NBA champions last month. Now, he's coming back for more. The
unrestricted free agent forward has agreed to a five-year contract worth $57 million, two sources told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
One of the league sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, expected Wallace to sign the deal on Thursday. Wallace is to meet with reporters
at a news conference Friday morning at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Wallace, who made $17 million last season, was acquired in a three-team deal on Feb. 19 to put the Pistons over the top.
And he did.
They were a good team without Wallace, ranking among the top teams in the Eastern Conference with a 34-22 record. They were 20-6 in the regular season
and 16-7 in the playoffs after adding him. The Pistons beat the Los Angeles Lakers in five games for their third title, and first since 1990.
Wallace's statistics were not always impressive - he averaged 13 points, 7.8 rebounds and two blocks in the playoffs - but his impact almost always
was. He made a stingy defense one of the best in league history and an average offense better.
Wallace, who turns 30 on Sept. 17, averaged 16 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 blocks last season, his ninth in the NBA. The Philadelphia
native spent two years at the University of North Carolina before being taken by Washington with the fourth overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft.
Wallace was traded to Portland following his rookie year and spent the next seven-plus seasons with the Trail Blazers. With an expiring contract, they
traded Wallace to Atlanta, where he stayed for one game before he was dealt to Detroit just before the trading deadline.
Wallace helped Detroit beat the Los Angeles Lakers in five games for its third title, and first since 1990.
He also kept his cool.
Wallace was called for just two technicals in the postseason, a total that may have shocked some who followed his career in Portland.
He broke his own NBA record with 41 technical fouls during the 2000-01 season, and was once suspended for seven games for threatening an official
after a game. That was the league's longest suspension for something that didn't involve physical contact or substance abuse.
Wallace didn't have any problems with the Pistons. In fact, few athletes in Michigan became popular as quickly as he did. Wallace almost instantly
became adored, a fact heard at home games each time he touched the ball as the crowd shouted: "Sheeeeeed!"
"It feels good when they do that," Wallace said during the NBA Finals.
Wallace will be one of five returning starters for the NBA champion Pistons. He will be backed up by Antonio McDyess, who was signed to replace Mehmet
Larry Lage / Associated Press