In some way, shape, or form, the history of the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons are going to be intertwined through one another. A pair of the Blazers’ most groundbreaking moments in franchise history — the 1990 NBA Finals and the franchise-altering Rasheed Wallace trade in 2004 — worked to the benefit of Detroit.
Former All-Star guard Richard Hamilton discussed Detroit’s trade for former Portland Trail Blazers great Rasheed Wallace, and just how underrated he was on The Ringer’s “Real Ones with Raja and Logan” pod.
On last week’s edition of The Ringer’s Real Ones with Raja and Logan, three-time All-Star Richard Hamilton joined former NBA player Raja Bell and Logan Murdock to discuss the dynamics of that trade, a deal that both altered Portland’s course for the next half-decade, and provided Wallace the needed perks for a potential Hall of Fame case.
"“I think that Rasheed was probably one of the most underrated players that played in our game, a guy that could have easily been a top-3 guy, you know, in the game. You ask some of the great players like Tim Duncan, (Kevin Garnett), and Dirk Nowitzki during that era, they’ll probably put ‘Sheed as one of the top guys at that position. But I feel as though during that year.We were good. We were solid. But I don’t think we had enough to win the championship. And me and Chauncey (Billups) was in constant communication with Joe Dumars, and was like, ‘Hey, we need an inside presence. Where a guy can demand a double team, a guy that can take some pressure off the guards.”"
Seeing Wallace finally slay the Los Angeles Lakers in the postseason — something his teams failed to do in five different Playoff matchups from 1996-97 to 2001-02 — remains a touchy subject. In a long-term sense, it actually helps further the story of Blazers’ history.
Should there come a day where Wallace is recognized truly as an all-time great, his production in Portland is sure to occupy top billing.
If nothing else, Wallace can hang his hat on how his on-court peers viewed him. Hamilton spoke highly of him last week, and Hall of Famers in the past view him with esteem, too. Vlade Divac, for example, comes to mind with his statement in May of 2000, when he said that if he were a GM, Wallace “would be my first choice of anybody.”
Do with this information as you wish. But it speaks volumes to his talent.
The trade itself occurred in February of 2004, with the Portland Trail Blazers dealing Rasheed Wallace in hopes of moving on from the “Jail Blazers” era.
Portland dealt Wallace to the Atlanta Hawks, where he famously played one game before being sent off to Detroit in one of the great front office moves of that generation. And though it took time to shape itself, both sides succeeded in reaching their goals in some way.
The rest of that week’s excellent podcast has been linked above. Among the other topics discussed: Hamilton’s relationship with Kobe Bryant, his experiences with Michael Jordan on the Wizards, the shot that Jordan told him he needed to learn to progress his career — a CJ McCollum special — and his top-five two-guards in NBA history.