Long before Ben Wallace ever suited up for the Pistons, I was a huge Terry Mills fan. In my head (I was young and naive) I kind of considered him to be the heir to Bill Laimbeer. And he was, in a way; not in the "tough as nails, I'll rip your heart out" kind of way, but certainly in the "I'm far too tall to be shooting this many three-pointers" tradition.
In any case, Mills fell out of the public eye when he retired; I'd heard he was still living in the Detroit area, but I've never seen him make his way out to the Palace for a game. Apparently, though, Terry Foster of the Detroit News kept in touch, because he reached out to Mills to get his thoughts on Detroit's free agent options.
Former Piston Terry Mills has studied the landscape of big men and said the pickings are slim. He predicts Wallace will return to the Pistons unless they work a major trade, which he said is not likely. But Mills warned fans they won't see the same Wallace, who was voted NBA defensive player of the year four times and was made the all-defensive team six times.
"He can help them out as far as leadership is concerned in trying to develop the younger guys," Mills said.
"The Pistons are in a situation where their hands are kind of tied. Who is out there? You are in a situation if nothing happens now you have to wait until 2010. And you are in an ugly situation because all those guys who are all projected to come out their teams are working hard to sign them and keep them."
Take his opinion with a grain of salt -- I have no reason to believe he's actually plugged into the inner-workings of the Palace. But still, Terry Mills? Blast from the past. For what it's worth, Joe Dumars confirmed that Wallace is an option but wouldn't tip his hand about the likelihood of his return:
"Ben Wallace is someone we're discussing, but no decision has been made," Dumars said Thursday via text message.
I spoke to Wallace during the playoffs about his time in Detroit and his rocky relationship with Pistons fans since leaving, and I got the feeling that he'd appreciate the chance to come back and end his career with the fans once again on his side. What say you? Is everything water under the bridge or do people still harbor bad feelings?