The Truth’s $21 million dilemma | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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The Truth’s $21 million dilemma


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?

ESPN Boston's Peter May offers this analysis:

In fact, Pierce and his agent might look at the NBA landscape over the
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.

Pierce's take:

"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.

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  • 11rings

    Does this mean that if Pierce opts out and signs a new contract at a lower salary level, the Celtics would have enough money to re-sign Ray Allen to a respectable contract, albeit one that’s smaller that what he’s got now? I was under the impression that the only way the Celtics could re-sign Ray Allen would be with the low level exception, which would be ridiculous for a player of his abilities. But now maybe there is hope that Ray will be back in green next year.

  • Perry

    I really hope he does opt out in favor of a more cap friendly contract. The NBA is going through some troubled economic times, and he knows it. So does Ray who seems intent on taking much less money to finish his career in Boston. That pleases me. I’d like to see more Jo Jo White/Maxwell types sticking around the organziation after their playing days are over. That’s the way Red would have wanted it.

  • jared

    Paul…..say never, please.

  • It’s smart move from Paul because he’s giving up 21 mil to make $45. There’s no up side to him playing somewhere else. He’s a Celtic for life.

  • Agreed. He may forgo $21.5 million but getting an extension at $15mil/yr would work out better for him. But would it really be good for the celtics? $15 mil is a hefty amount of cash to be dishing out to a player at 36 yrs old, especially if there is a HARD cap in place at that point. Still may be an overall better option though

  • Jason

    To accept 3/$45 (presuming this offer is even available) from 1/$21 means he doesn’t think he can get 2/$24 next summer. If he keeps looking slow and hurt like this year and it only gets worse next year, that’s quite a stretch.

  • david kelly

    he has been traded 6 times, twice to portland, twice to detroit, once to atlanta and once to boston.

  • DRJ

    Nah, Cs can re-sign Ray for any amount they want, up to the maximum, and it won’t count against their cap. they have Bird Rights to Ray.

  • 11rings

    Okay, cool. But if Pierce opts out and resigns at a lower salary it seems like that would open up cap space to sign Ray, sign another expensive free agent, and keep the luxury tax reasonable.

  • DRJ

    Two ways to look at it. The new rules would indeed make it very, very hard to get a big offer from any team at age 35 (which would be hard even now).
    But the new rules may be MUCH stricter than they are now. They’re talking about hard caps, much tighter salary restrictions (aka players’ % of basketball-related income), even restrictions on the length and extent of contract guarantees (down to 2-3 years and 50%).
    So he might not be able to get ANY kind of decent offer after the new CBA, if he plays out next year.
    But that goes both ways. Management knows this too. They might not be too happy to sign Paul for 3 years at $15m per. To accomplish what? A saving of $6.5m in the first year?? I’d be thinking long and hard about that if I were Wyc.
    Plus his physical condition is an issue. Will he be well enough to play another 3-4 years?
    My bet is that Paul does NOT exercise his opt-out option and plays out his contract’s last year as is. From what he’s been writing in his blog, he’s already envisioning his retirement. He’s probably not foreseeing another 4 years of play after this season. Then, after his last contract year, he’ll see how he feels, what offers he gets, etc.
    That’s what I would do in this environment. Things are too uncertain — both physically and financially, in the NBA.

  • Joe

    Damn…can’t believe The Truth is entering the twilight of his career. Seems like it was just yesterday when we drafted him.

  • DRJ

    Yeah, if only! But I don’t think any of that is likely to help, because the Cs are so far over the cap, even with Ray taking a reduction we probably won’t have any cap space. (For sure we won’t have space if Paul’s salary doesn’t come down.) That will be even more true after next season, since the cap is almost certainly going to come down even further.
    But once KG comes off… then, finally, we’ll be open.