Every morning, we compile the links of
the day and dump them here…
highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as
satisfying as a good morning dump.
The move shouldn't come as too much of a shock … not yet, anyway. It
could be in the best interest of both Pierce and the Celtics for him to
navigate this channel. Pierce walks away from a guaranteed $21.5 million
this season, but sets himself up to make as much as $96 million over
the next four seasons. Especially with an uncertain labor situation
looming, Pierce's move could allow him to lock in a deal worth an
average of $24 million per season that would take him toward the
twilight of his NBA career (he'd be on the backside of 36 when such a
four-year deal expired).
If Pierce ultimately re-signs with Boston, this move might also free
up a bit of cap space for the cash-strapped Celtics. It should be
noted, however, that the savings would appear to be minimal and Pierce's
price tag in the final years of any deal would be prohibitive,
particularly if the salary cap doesn't rise accordingly in the new CBA.
…perhaps Pierce sees the potential demise of the Celtics next season
and worries where he’ll be 12 months from now while facing free agency
as a 33-year-old coming from a franchise that may then be in
full-fledged rebuilding mode.
Labor uncertainty looming next summer is another huge incentive to
get a long-term contract done now instead of heading into what could be a
far more restrictive salary environment without a deal.
Or, just perhaps, Pierce’s intention is to stay with Boston – become
the “Celtic for Life” he has talked about for the past five years – and
opting out of the final year of his current deal is the best means to an
end of getting an extension that gives Pierce security for three or
four more years, while lessening the luxury-tax burden on the franchise.
Regardless, it was a bold move at a late hour for Pierce last night
when his agent, Jeff Schwartz, revealed to ESPN that – at least for a
little while – one of the all-time Celtic icons was no longer a Celtic.
It's a little ironic that Pierce isn't exercising a player option… so he as a player can have options. And I think options are what this is all about.
Like I wrote last night, the impending lockout after next season is a big factor in all of this. It's probably a good idea for any player to lock up a longer-term deal that lasts past next season. No one knows what the next CBA will bring. The owners are crying poor, so why not take advantage of what would seem to be looser rules regarding salary right now? Financially, from a player perspective, it makes more sense to dump the last year of his deal now to bridge the uncertain waters of the NBA's financial future… especially if it nets you more money in the end. I don't think any player wants to be sitting there without a contract next summer.
This also leaves Pierce open to sit back and watch what the Celtics are doing. He can wait out Doc and Ray and see if the band really is getting back together. If he doesn't like what he sees… he can test the waters. If he thinks the C's are going for it one more time… he can instruct his agent to get a deal done in Boston.
I wouldn't put much stock in that 4 year, $96 million number. Paul Pierce is not getting a max deal. He's not a max guy anymore. But if you tossed $45 million at him over 3 years… it might be enough to get him to stay. At least I HOPE it's enough to get him to stay. An average of $15 million over 3 years would be about right for Pierce.
So I wouldn't read too much into this decision. I don't see this is as the bad sign some people might make it out to be. This is simply about a player leaving his options open. It's a good business decision… not a signal of impending doom.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
On Page 2, an update on Perk's knee
"I feel good, I've been here, trying to strengthen [the ACL] before I
go into surgery," said Perkins. "I'm working with [team trainer] Ed
[Lacerte] — a lot of leg work and icing trying to get the swelling all
the way down, a lot of treatment before I go in for surgery."
believed he tore the medial collateral and posterior cruciate
ligaments, but further testing revealed the more severe ACL injury. He
was scheduled to have surgery last week, but was advised to delay the
procedure in order to shorten the recovery. He's walking fine, but
admitted his hamstring is sore, a sign he's compensating for the
"I was hurt at first, to be out so long and away from the game of
basketball," said Perkins. "At the end of the day, it's something I've
got to deal with. I'll make sure I rehab and come back like I'm supposed
to. If I have to be out for like five to six months, that’s what it
Surgery is set for next Wednesday. We won't see Perk back until late December, early January at best. I'd say we won't see him in any kind of shape until the All Star Break.
All in all, not too bad. We'll get him for half a season and the playoffs. Considering the big man options out there, the interim might suck… but it's still doable.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Perkins on a long road | Pierce free to flee | Dirk to opt out | Riley's Heat play it cool | Wade Q&A: A lot can go down | Finally, race for Lebron can begin | Globe: Pierce opting out | Perkins cruising along | Game Time | WEEI: What Pierce's opt out means for the Celtics | Free agent frenzy set to begin Thursday | CSNNE: Perk's surgery set for Thursday | MWDN: Perk looks forward | Scal: No question I want to be back