WALTHAM, Mass. -- So, Gerald Wallace, where have you been all summer?
"At home with my family, spending time with my family, enjoying it," Wallace said. "Being traded is a process that nobody likes to through so it kind of caught me off guard, shocked me."
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge noted last week that he had yet to communicate with Wallace in the aftermath of the summer blockbuster that delivered the 13th-year veteran to Boston. Wallace, who arrived in Boston late last week, admitted at Celtics Media Day on Monday that being traded for a third time in 30 months rattled him and, facing the prospect of a rebuilding process, it took the 31-year-old Wallace some time to process it all.
But he stressed that Boston's fresh start in no way diminishes his excitement to play here.
"I think the main thing that a lot of people that have taken out of this is that I didn’t want to come, I didn’t want to be here, I didn’t want to be a part of it. That’s so far from the truth," Wallace said. "I think the main thing was, with me being in the league for 13 years, I’ve been traded three times in the past three or four years. This trade kind of caught me off guard, I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t know anything about it.
"It wasn’t like my agent talked to me about it and said, ‘There’s a possibility there might be a trade' or something. I was basically sitting at home with family and friends, we were sitting around the table, playing cards and getting ready to watch the NBA draft, and, bam, it hits the screen. I don’t know anything about it. It kind of caught me off guard, it put me in shock. You kind of sit down and look at yourself and wonder what happened. Is there something I could have done better to stay?
"I'm actually happy to be here in Boston. I’ve always loved the city of Boston when I came here. Besides, I’m a Red Sox and Patriots fan, so I’m close to my teams. I’m happy to be here, and I want to be here. A fresh start, it’s kind of hard when you’ve been in the league 13 years, coming somewhere that’s got to start all over. But for me, I think it’ll be challenging, trying to turn this team around like I did in Charlotte, kind of help these guys out, and push as far as we can here."
Wallace was refreshingly honest about his perceived struggles last season in Brooklyn, being a veteran on a rebuilding team and embracing the possibility that Boston won't contend for the title that most veterans covet. And he explained his rooting interest in two of the city's other pro squads. Some highlights from his Media Day Q&A:
On his downturn in production last season in Brooklyn
A: "I played on a team with three All-Star scorers, who averaged 25-30 points per game. My role on that team wasn’t to score. My thing was to go out every night and guard the opposing team’s best players. I felt like that was a role that was established for me at the beginning of the season and training camp. I felt like, for that job, I went out and did a pretty good job of that every night. This is the NBA, guys are going to get hot, and you can’t stop anybody, you can only hope to control them and maintain them. I think a lot of people felt I was kind of falling off because I didn’t score like I used to score. Or I didn’t do the things offensively that I used to do. But I wasn’t asked to do that. With Deron [Williams], Joe [Johnson] and Brook [Lopez], those guys there, they were the 1-2-3 [scoring] options. That wasn’t my main focus on offense. I think we had enough guys that could score and do whatever they wanted to do offensively, but we had very few guys that were willing to go out there and match up on the opposing team’s best player. I think I did a great job of that."
On being a veteran on a rebuilding team
A: "It’s very hard. After 13 years, you never want to go to a team that’s just starting the rebuilding process. Your main focus is trying to get somewhere you can kind of end your career on a championship note. At the same time, I’m here. I’m happy to be here, I’m going to enjoy being here, I’m going to enjoy playing with the younger guys on the team. If we can improve -- like I told the guys, a championship is what I would want. That’s what I want to go out with. But I’ve never won a championship in my life. So my life isn’t based on championships. It’s based on me having a successful career and having fun and enjoying the game, going out on a positive note in the game. So if I can come here and build this team, and improve with this team, and get us back into the playoff contention, and push forward from there, then I feel I would be more happy to be on a team that just won a championship."
On being a Patriots and Red Sox fan
A: Well, I’m from Alabama. We don’t have a professional team there. I like Big Papi [David Ortiz], I’ve always followed Big Papi and enjoy watching him and those guys. That’s how I became a Red Sox fan. I’m just fascinated with [Patriots quarterback Tom] Brady. I like watching Brady play. I’ve been a big, big Brady fan since he started in the league. I’ve been following him since Day 1, him and coach [Bill] Belichick. They are my favorite team. Actually, in my house, I have a Patriots room -- big Patriots and Red Sox fan. I have a couple Brady jerseys. A couple pictures of Brady, Belichick, the championship teams. A couple of the Super Bowl pictures. I have a lot of those Red Sox World Series [items]. I have an autographed bat from Ortiz ... and a lot of things from my career in the NBA."