Originally written on Knicks Journal  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Play today, retire tomorrow.Though the Knicks have led many to believe in the months from December to now that Rasheed Wallace was rehabbing and preparing himself for a postseason return, such an effort has fallen well short of what was expected. Wallace opted to retire from the NBA on Wednesday, ending an otherwise storied career that concluded with a four minute performance against the Bobcats on Monday night.The forward was one of the more always interesting and fun players to watch over his fourteen seasons. His career is highlighted by four All-Star appearances, an NBA championship, and an all-time league high in technical fouls.Wallace's time in the NBA was full of epic happenings, but that in no way changes how unfortunate the timing of his retirement is as it relates to the Knicks' immediate future.Was Walace truly expected to be a part of New York's playoff rotation as recently as yesterday? If he had gone ahead with surgery on his foot as soon as the injury was discovered, would the Knicks have been chomping at the bit so last minute here with regard to hoping for a potential return?Had the surgery occurred sooner and Wallace healed earlier, perhaps things would not have gone down as they have today. But instead, the Knicks released a fellow fantastic locker room presence in Kurt Thomas, then subsequently let go of Solomon Jones. Both moves were made with the thinking that New York could depend on Wallace (more so than the former two options, obviously) to give them decent minutes down the playoff stretch.Things have clearly changed and initial plans had to be altered. After signing former Knickerbocker Quentin Richardson to occupy the roster spot left by Thomas/Jones, New York reeled back in another player fans are familiar with in Earl Barron. The big man will replace Wallace on the roster. When not much else was going right for the Knicks towards the end of the 2009-10 season, Barron came aboard to average 11.7 points and 11 boards through seven late season contests. His stint was so uplifting and promising that New York even considered retaining Barron, heading into the Amar'e Stoudemire era the following season, but things never materialized. But for providing the team was such a bright spot (alas, how brief) during a sufferable season, Barron has become one of the most beloved Knickerbocker fifteenth men of all time.Of course, one should be able to sense the tone of sarcasm when it comes to holding such an "honor," but alas, it's actually true. Signing Barron (and the humor that comes along with it at this point and time) likely softens the blow of losing two fan-favorites in Thomas and Wallace.Nevertheless, the team has to hope that their playoff run won't enter such desperate times with regard to having to play Richardson and/or Barron major minutes. Hopefully the more key returning contributors will stay healthy over the next few weeks, and the two recent additions will prove to be nothing more than insurance policies.
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