The Ben Is Over?

by July 04, 2006

Put those ‘fros away!

According to the Detroit Free Press, it’s over. It’s actually on the front page of their site right now, but the guts of the story is here: Ben Wallace is leaving Detroit.

The Pistons opened their pursuit of Big Ben by offering him a four year, $48 million deal. Big Ben had talked about wanting big money, but he’d also talked about his “heart” belonging in Detroit.

But that was before Da Bulls got into the act. They wined and dined Big Ben and offered him four years, $60 million dollars. And as it turned out, money talked loud and clear to Big Ben. Has there ever been a worse offensive player to sign such a huge deal (other than Jon Koncak)?

He had two choices, really: Stay in Detroit, with an aging team and an unproven coach, or go to Chicago, with a young and developing roster and an unproven coach. Said Ben: “I appreciate everything Detroit did for me and my family. They gave me an opportunity to make a name for myself and we had an opportunity to win a championship together. This is always going to be a special place. This is just one of those things. When you get a chance to sign a deal of a lifetime, it’s tough to let it go.”

Wouldn’t seem like $12 million is going to make a lot of difference in how well his kids eat, but to each their own.

This is really going to hurt Detroit. I wrote last year about how so much of their success offensively was predicated upon their position players being skilled enough to make tough shots as the shot clock was winding down. So often I saw Billups dribble around, then throw is out to Sheed for a 3 or Rip for a runner as the shot clock buzzer sounded.

Similarly, Ben did the same thing for the Pistons defensively. As good as Rip is at running and chasing, Ben is their most important defender, because he guarded the rim and allowed everyone else to take chances.

Next year? Watch Nazr Mohammed mis-time a jump! See Joel Przyzbilla draw a charge but accidentally step on the dotted line! Deeeee-troit-Basket-baaaallll!

For Da Bulls, this is huge. Check out this rotation:
PG: Kirk Hinrich
SG: Ben Gordon
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Tyson Chandler
C: Ben Wallace
With Tyrus Thomas, Chris Duhon, Andres Nocioni on the bench, among others. They won’t have much post scoring, but they’ll be demons defensively.

Wow. There go the Bad Boys.

What do you think, Pistons people: Is Ben booed in Detroit for the rest of his career or do you understand why he took the money and ran? Who’s the villain, Ben or Joe Dumars?

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