Paul Pierce has an early termination option on his contract. He can opt-out (by July 1) and forego the final year of his deal which just happens to be worth a staggering $21.5 million. It would be a crazy move to pass on 21 mil right?
next couple of years and try to get Pierce a new deal for a number of
years. True, he'd be giving up a boatload of cash in the short run. But
he might be able to recoup it while (A) still playing until he's 36 or
37 (he turns 33 in October) and (B) still playing for the Celtics.
Ownership might jump at that as well, for it would lower the payroll in
2010-11, though not enough to make the Celtics players in free agency.
What makes the situation interesting is that if Pierce does nothing,
he would be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2011. And
that's when all signs point to a lockout, with the owners once again
seeking protection from themselves in the form of tighter salary
controls and, perhaps, even a hard salary cap. There even has been talk
of removing the midlevel exception.
So suppose Pierce plays next
season and finishes out his contract. In July of 2011, he'd be 34, not
exactly the ideal age for free agency. And with the prospect of a
lockout, he could be out a season and then be looking to sign a new
deal at 35. He'd also likely be looking at a completely new set of
rules, which could conceivably squeeze him even more.
"I really haven't given it that much thought. I've always said I wanted
to finish my career as a Celtic. And a long as we have the players here
to compete [for a title], I want to be here. But really, I haven't
given it that much thought. I suppose I will when it's time."
"You do think about that, getting schmoozed," Pierce said. "You never
say never in this business, but it would be very tough for me to do
that [leave Boston.]"
There is some logic to opting-out. My guess is that Pierce opts-out and signs a relatively cap friendly, extension with the Celtics. Maybe 3 years, $45 million.