The NBA announced Wednesday that Celtics forward Gerald Wallace has been fined $10,000 for "using profane language during his postgame media availability" following Boston's 109-85 road loss to Houston on Tuesday. MassLive.com reported Wallace's offending comments after the Celtics dropped to 4-8. The veteran forward scored two points, took one shot and grabbed one rebound in just 11 minutes of action against Houston.
“I don’t know what the f--- (the loss) was, just to be honest with you,” he said. “I don’t really know what was going on. It just seemed like we got in one zone, and it was all offensively. Things weren’t going right for us offensively and it affected us in transition defense, our half-court defense and just mentally out there on the court.”
“It was bad because you see it and you want to help, and you try to tell the guys what’s going on in the situation,” he said. “I think it’s just the fact that they’re not getting it. You look up at the scoreboard and you’re getting your butts kicked every night. And these are pretty good teams that take advantage of that situation. We’ve got to understand, this is a long season. We’re only (12 games) into the season. We’ve got about 60 more of these. If you’re going to look up and you’re down 30 or you’re giving up 40 points in the first quarter for the next 60 games, that’s going to be a long season. Sh--.”
Wallace, 31, is on the books for $10.1 million this season. He is averaging 4.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 26.6 minutes this season. This wasn't the first case of Wallace speaking freely -- perhaps too freely -- this season. Back in October, Wallace said the Celtics played "laid back" at times and he expressed frustration that the team was "getting our asses kicked every night" without a response In early November, Wallace said the Celtics played "selfish" and that his teammates "were more worried about our stats" during a loss to the Bucks. Also this month, he's said that he wouldn't ask for a trade and that he was "kind of confused" when coach Brad Stevens moved him from the starting lineup to a reserve role.
The fit between a rebuilding Boston franchise and an aging Wallace was bound to be problematic. Tossed in by Brooklyn to the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett blockbuster trade for contract matching purposes, "Crash" likely feels a little stuck with the Celtics. His contract -- which runs for this season plus two more at eight figures per year -- will be extraordinarily difficult to move, especially for a franchise that isn't interested in including assets just to be rid of it (like the Warriors did in dumping Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins to the Jazz).
Playing for a bad team that is pivoting towards a new era is tough enough for a competitive veteran, but Wallace's deteriorating game only makes the situation that much bleaker. His numbers this season are the worst since he was barely scraping minutes with the Kings after going one-and-done out of college, and he recently admitted to the Charlotte Observer that 12 years worth of hard-charging play has caught up with him.
“I understand the situation I’m in in my career. I don’t think I could play 35-40 minutes a night for 82 games anymore,” Wallace told me before Wednesday’s Bobcats-Celtics game. “It’s been an adjustment, but I had to look in the mirror and accept it myself.”
Add it all up and it's clear this f-bomb didn't emerge from thin air. A slap on the wrist from the league office might remind Wallace to bite his tongue, but it will do nothing to address his underlying frustration. Earlier this month, the NBA fined Wizards coach $20,000 for using a profanity during his postgame press conference.