There are a handful of NBA players who played for the teams you would never imagine them playing for. One of the most extraordinary cases is Rasheed Wallace, who in 2003-04 NBA season played exactly ONE game for the Atlanta Hawks!
The prolific power forward spent seven and a half productive seasons in Portland Trail Blazers. He contributed to the team in so many ways, undeniably helping it almost reach the 2000 NBA finals.
But as the years went by, the atmosphere in the Blazers locker became quite troublesome and potentially explosive, leading to the team being nicknamed – ‘JailBlazers’. Blazers management knew that the time has come to deal with the ‘bad guys’
The name which came up on top of the ‘bad guys’ list, the one who in their eyes impersonated everything that went wrong with the team, was the perennial leader in technical fouls – Rasheed Wallace. So, on February 9th, 2004. the Blazers sent Rasheed Wallace and Wesley Person to Atlanta in exchange for Shareef Abdur-Raheem, Dan Dickau, and Theo Ratliff.
"I think you'll see a quick integration of these guys in the locker room because they're good guys."
Blazers GM John Nash, after the trade
At that point, Wallace reportedly didn’t care who he is playing for as long as somebody ‘CTC.’
"As long as somebody 'CTC,' at the end of the day, I'm with them. For all you that don't know what CTC means, that's 'Cut The Check.' But if I have to go somewhere else and play, I'm not going to sit up here and boo-hoo about going. No, because at the end of the day, I will still be able to do the things necessary to take care of my family. That's what the CTC means, whoever cuts that check, that's who I have to play for."
Interestingly, Wallace’s only game as a Hawk came on February 18th when Atlanta visited the Nets. That night, in a 92-98 Hawks loss, ‘Sheed’ played 42 minutes and recorded 20 points, 6 boards, 2 dimes, and 5 blocked shots. But he was out of sync – he shot only 8-24 from the field and 1-6 beyond the arc!
However, Wallace proved to be active, especially on defense, by contributing to a team defense with his unique rim-protecting expertise – the total of 5 rejections in a game matched his previous season-high!
It turned out that Atlanta was just a trade junction – ten days later, on February 19th, 2004, Wallace was again traded! This time he was involved in a 3-team trade, which sent him to – Detroit Pistons.
In Detroit, Wallace lived up to expectations – he immediately became the ‘glue guy,’ instantly providing much needed inside presence and toughness with his ability to complete big plays. The Detroit Pistons won the 2004 NBA Championship title and reached the 2005 NBA finals – Sheed was the missing piece they needed.