Bill Simmons of culture, modern living, interior design, gardening, pottery, entertainment, celebrity gossip and sports website Grantland.com -- also known as "The Sports Guy" -- writes that former Portland Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace has reached "NBA menopause" after his trade to the New Jersey Nets, who relocated to Brooklyn and re-signed him to a four-year contract last summer.
The Nets traded a top-three protected first-rounder for Wallace last February, never giving that pick top-10 protection because, as GM Billy King would explain later, the Nets didn't believe there were any impact rookies beyond the top three, and "we felt the player that we may draft beyond the protection would be somebody that would probably take a couple years (to develop)."
Thanks to that confusing logic, the Blazers stumbled into the sixth pick (courtesy of the Nets) and took Damian Lillard ... who's averaging 18.6 points a game en route to the Rookie of the Year award. So that was awkward. The next three picks: Harrison Barnes, Terrence Ross and Andre Drummond, all of whom make three times less than Wallace (signed to that $40 million extension in July) and have eight times more trade value. Maybe it's a bad idea to decide in March that you like only three players in June's NBA draft, and that workouts and interviews couldn't possibly change that opinion? Just throwing it out there.
The good news? If the Nets didn't trade for Wallace, they wouldn't have been able to pay Deron Williams $98 million for the five years after his prime, and they wouldn't have been able to lock down Wallace at $40 million right after his career careered off a cliff.
2012: 13.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 45.4% FG, 80% FT, 16.0 PER
2013: 8.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 41.5% FG, 65% FT, 12.5 PER
That's not a slump, that's NBA menopause. We've seen it happen with too many athletic NBA forwards over the years - once they lose it, it never comes back.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter