Ben Wallace will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, and the Pistons aren't allowed to negotiate an extension with him until after July 1. Is there a chance that he'll slip away and sign with another team?
It doesn't look likely. For one, he's fired his agent and is looking for one who's willing to be paid by the hour instead of as a percentage of his contract. From Sunday's Detroit News:
Ben Wallace has fired his agent, Steve Kauffman , and is in the process of trying to interview and hire a new one. It's a huge hiring, too, since Wallace will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
"I don't need anybody to negotiate for me," Wallace said. "I just need somebody who can look over the contract and make sure everything is right."
It was a discrepancy over an item in his contract with Kauffman that caused the split.
"We had agreed that he would start charging me an hourly rate," Wallace said. He had paid Kauffman four percent of his earnings.
"He agreed to that, but then I was looking over the contract and I saw where it said, if I don't sign an extension or a maximum deal, it would go back to me paying him four percent. I didn't know if he was trying to pull a fast one on me or not, but I know he knows me a whole lot better than that."
Kauffman did not immediately return phone calls Saturday.
"When I asked him about it, he said he saw that a couple of weeks ago and had been meaning to call me," said Wallace, shaking his head. "I told him, 'All you've got to do is admit you've made a mistake.' And he said, 'You know I would never try to do something like that to you.' But I wasn't falling for that one."
Wallace said he hoped to hire an agent within a few weeks.
He's not looking for a negotiator because he'll almost certainly get the max deal allowed by the collective bargaining agreement -- the only question is the length of the extension. At 31, he's probably not expecting a full seven years, so it's likely just a personal decision whether he wants to sign for five or six, and there's no need to give up four percent of his annual salary just for having a lawyer spend a few hours dotting the i's and crossing the t's.