Unhappy Returns For Big Ben In Chi-Town

By Jerald L. Hoover
Updated: November 28, 2006

NEW YORK � In the case of, �I told you so�, �I saw it coming�, or better yet, �What was he thinking�, the union between Chicago Bulls head coach Scott Skiles and All-star starting center Ben Wallace appears to be and strong as a Hollywood marriage.

Wallace who has a reputation for going sour on his coaches seems to have met the �right one� in Skiles who is just at stubborn, strong willed and head strong.

For all of the romancing the Bulls front office (primarily, Skiles and general manager, John Paxson) did over the summer by being the first organization to appear at Wallace�s doorstep the very minute

League rules allowed for such, things seem to go south very quickly. And in quickly we�re talking even as far back as training camp.

As is the case it seems with all of the free agents that get romanced and chased after the very first team they signed with isn�t the team they finish with by far. It appears as though the athlete isn�t just chasing after the money; although they all say, �it�s not about the money,� but they look as if to get a kick out of being wined and dined and showed around various towns as if they are being recruited by colleges.

But, the problem with that is once you sign for however many years you sign for on the dotted line, you belong solely to that team unless they decide to either cut or trade you.

In college however, you can get out usually if there are infractions to some degree and you�re able to transfer to another school without penalty or if you can take a hit and sit out for a time after transferring to another school.

Either or, you can get out from under the scholarship.

In hindsight, Wallace should have stayed his ferocious rebounding self right in Detroit. After all, the team had amazing chemistry. Wallace had friends on the team that he hung out with off the court on a regular basis.

Wallace often sits to himself in the locker room alone and dour. There were players close to him in age so there was common ground and apparently there weren�t stringent team rules in place that caused Wallace to not be comfortable.

Skiles and the Bulls have a rule that all players must have their ankles taped. Wallace on the other hand played years without taping his ankles. The Bulls have a rule about loud music in the locker room before games.

Wallace on the other hand while in Detroit would blast his music to motivate him to get those 15 to 20 rebounds fans grew accustomed to see him get. The Bulls also have a rule of no head bands.

Wallace as most of us know used head bands when he sported cornrows or his trademark Julius Erving/Larry Kenon/Artis Gilmore, back in ABA days type Afro. In other words, Wallace�s headband became his Charlie Brown�s �Linus with his security blanket�. It made him comfortable.

Well, with the Bulls that headband got him benched twice during last Saturday�s 106-95 win against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden and will also get him fined a hefty for insubordination � Wallace refused to take off his head band twice, once in the first quarter and again right after half-time.

The night before in Philadelphia against the Sixers, Wallace recorded no points and no rebounds in 20 uninspired minutes. The Bulls lost, 123-108 behind the gift of 46 points from Allen Iverson.

Wallace often talks with his old mates back in Detroit who no doubt miss him just as much as he misses them � former Knick Nazr Mohammed isn�t the answer for them at center.

But Wallace who cited the difference in the Piston�s offer (of 49 million over five years to that of the Bulls who countered with 60 million for the same about of years) as his reason for leaving is also disillusioned with the effectiveness of his offensive game.

He wanted more input in the Piston offense but his claim to fame and possibly a trip to Springfield when his playing days are over is rebounding and relentless defense.

The same things are happening to him in Chicago as in Detroit; being pulled late in games for offense/defense purposes or if the team is in a close game and foul shooting is at a critical juncture and the need for a 43 percent shooter as Wallace is is as necessary as fur coats being sold in Miami in August.

One thing is for certain something is going to have to give. With Wallace signed to 2010 and Skiles extended til 2009 no one seems to be going anywhere any time soon.

With so much money owed to Wallace no team in their right mind would trade for him; and no, not even the Knicks. With those facts in place a divorce for irreconcible differences in highly unlikely so they may as well learn to make things work.