Anyone who has been to a Bobcats game knows the "Gerald WALLACE Wall-ace wall-ace" cry that comes from the P.A. man after every Wallace basket. It's an inspired bit -- my kids love to repeat it to each other, at random times, with the name fading away at the end just like the P.A. man says it.
Now Wallace has faded away for good from the Bobcats, and that means this is a sad day in franchise history. Wallace was the last remaining player from the original Bobcats in 2004, and so in some ways this day feels a bit like the one coming sometime when John Kasay and the Panthers part ways.
The trade? It's easy to say the Bobcats got creamed, for what they are getting that is coming in on the airplane is nothing like what is going out. The players, on the other hand, are mostly throwaways.
But two first-round draft choices? Now that you can do something with -- if owner Michael Jordan makes the right choice. And how confident can you be of that? Adam Morrison, Kwame Brown, etc etc.
The visceral reaction I have to the trade is I hate it. Without Wallace, the Bobcats just went from a team with a 50 percent chance to make the postseason to about a 25 percent chance. He was one of the team's two best players (along with Stephen Jackson), and you have to love anybody whose nickname is "Crash." Wallace is a fearless player and a high flyer who was the Bobcats' only all-star (ever). He is also honest, and a good guy.
Then again, his production has been a bit down this year. Sometimes on offense, he just camps in the corner and watches. He's got some miles on him now, and Gerald Henderson (who will play a lot more now) does a number of the same things, although he won't make ESPN SportsCenter as often.
So my more realistic reaction has to be: "We'll see." The picks that the Bobcats make for Wallace, the money that they now have to spend (if they spend it, a huge if given what they did in the Dampier situation) -- that determines if the deal was successful or not.
Maybe the Bobcats finish 11th in the Eastern Conference this year instead of 8th and another first-round sweep or 4-1 series loss, which was going to be inevitable. Does that really matter? Not much. What matters is becoming a truly elite team, which the Bobcats are gambling they can do with this deal.
Ultimately, maybe it works. For now, though, I know my kids -- and a whole lot of other folks -- are going to miss the sound of "Gerald WALLACE wallace wallace" fading away at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Bobcats are less athletic and less interesting for the rest of this season, and if I'm Paul Silas I'm not too fond of this deal in large part because my rebounding and defense just took a major hit, and I got nothing short-term to help me.
As for Jordan? He's playing blackjack again, and with this deal he just took a hit on 16.