I hate that Leon Powe was not offered a contract. Hate it.
But I get it.
Had the Celtics offered, and Powe accepted, the qualifying offer from the Celtics… they would have been on the hook for about $1.6 million dollars when you combine the contract and luxury tax. It's just too much to pay a player, even a guy as great as Leon, to not have a role on your team.
Yes, it's a business decision. And yes, it sucks. But the Celtics just can't do what Powe's agent thinks they should do.
What does it say when a player like Leon Powe, a great
human being, who played through injury and pain for three straight
years for the Boston Celtics, including in a playoff game after tearing
his ACL, is rewarded by the team saying to him "we only have a short
window to win, and you are not a part of our plans because you are now
It shows you the true state of the NBA.
Celtics are traditionally a class act. I have great respect for the
organization as a whole, but they truly missed it on this one.
Look… I'm one of Leon's biggest fans. I REALLY want him back with the Celtics when he's healthy. But we fans can't have it both ways. We've been sitting here talking about bringing in potential free agents for weeks now. We've been talking about how the C's only have so much money to spend and so many spots to give. We've got to make a choice: Give the money and roster spot to someone who can be productive… or contribute to the Leon Powe knee injury fund.
As fans, we've got to make a choice: Do we want to go to a parade… or do we want to help out a great guy as he struggles through his knee injury.
I hate to sound callous because I think that, in a perfect world, we could throw Leon a bone and give him a 1-year minimum deal.
But not right now. Not with the Celtics so close to another title. It is the sad reality of sports… which we in New England have seen very clearly with the New England Patriots. Every year, guys we like go away. And every year, we get over it when they win. The love for the Patriots has not dwindled here in New England because of their hard-line personnel decisions… it has grown… because winning is all fans really care about.
I love Leon and I want him to be a Celtic for life. He's everything that's right about a pro athlete. But I think even Leon knows that injuries… and the potential for that injury to cost you a job… is part of the deal when you get paid a lot of money to play a game.
My hope is that Leon gets healthy, and the Celtics leave a spot open for him to come back in December or January. That would make me happy. If not, I hope Leon hooks on somewhere and has all the success he deserves.
But we all know that if June 2010 rolls around and we're lining Boylston St. to celebrate Banner 18… the events of early July 2009 won't really matter to us at all.