You'd think missing half the season while recovering from a torn ACL would be a pretty crappy time for Kendrick Perkins to be in a contract year. But The Beast is watching his value grow… without him having to do a damn thing.
That's because the cry-poor owners are shelling out big cash to keep their big men. The latest is Joakim Noah… who is getting $60 million over 5 years from the Chicago Bulls.
$60 million… and that doesn't include his bonuses.
Joakim Noah is a nice player. He's a high energy guy who really rebounds well (11 per game last year, a 3.4 rpg improvement over the prior year), defends, and flat-out agitates the other team. The 10.7 points per game last year was a full 4 ppg improvement over the prior year.
Nice numbers. Nice player. NICE contract for a guy who will turn 26 this season.
Kendrick Perkins' agent is taking notes.
Earlier this summer, Dallas shelled out $55 million over 6 years for Brendan Haywood, who will turn 31 next month. Last year, he put up 9 and 9 with a couple of blocks per game.
Not bad. He's decent player who'll rebound and block shots. Nothing entirely special. But he's getting $9 million a year for it.
Kendrick Perkins' agent is doing backflips.
Perk has said, flat out, he wants to stay in Boston… which means he might take a bit of a hometown discount to stick around. But what will the discount be? What's Perk worth now?
Perk turns 26 in a month, but he's a 7 year vet as opposed to Noah, who's been in the league 3 years. They score about the same, but Noah grabs more rebounds. The argument in Perk's favor there is that he's on a much better team… which means there are (a) fewer rebounds to be had and (b) better rebounders around him. Noah grabbed the lion's share of the rebounds on the Bulls because he's clearly their best rebounder. Perk splits boards with KG… and he does so willingly. So his agent could easily rationalize the numbers that way.
By any measure, Perk is a more efficient scorer than Haywood and Noah. Perk's career FG% is 56.4, higher than Noah's 51.3% or Haywood's 53.2%. If you want to go into advanced stats, Perk had a true shooting percentage (a measure of 2's, 3's and FT's) of 61.3%. Haywood was at 58.8% and Noah was at 55.7%. Basically, Perk hits more shots than those other guys.
I don't want to turn this into a big statistical analysis. The basic point here is that these guys are all comparable players. And just like a real estate agent dropping off a bunch of comps that show you what all the other comparable houses in your neighborhood are selling for… Perk's agent is going to drop a stack on Danny's desk that compares Perk to these guys. One is making $9 million. One is making $12 million. So one would assume that the price to keep Perk around here has to start somewhere in that range.
It would be a nice little raise for The Beast… who is making $4.3 million this year. So the question now is… is that a price too rich for Danny's blood? Will he look at the market and say "I can get similar production at a better value than that"… or will he say "the market is what it is… and Perk at 26 and still room for improvement warrants a $50 million deal."
Keep in mind, the Celtics payroll next year is already more than $70 million. The other 4 starters will combine to make $56 million next year. Will Danny drop another, say, $10 million on Perk… or will he try to save some cash, make do with Jermaine O'Neal, and hope to start over with a different style of center in the 2011/12 season where the C's could try to build around Rondo with a much more athletic team?
Danny's going to have a tough decision to make. We all love Perk around here. And few of us want him to leave. But if the C's start the season with Jermaine O'Neal playing well and proving he can fill that role, then it will give the team pause when it comes to the Perkins negotiations. $16 million for that position is a lot.
But quality big men are hard to find. Even if the C's DO fill slots around Rondo with athletic finishers, a defensive minded rebounder is STILL the best way to start those fast breaks. A block or defensive board, followed by the outlet pass, is how breaks get started. Perk wouldn't have to finish the breaks… just start them.
I have no idea what the relationship is like between Perk's agent and the team. They may decide to work together quietly and give Perk a great contract that helps both him and the team. Perk doesn't seem to be a guy obsessed with huge contracts or with what other guys are making… but he's not gonna take $5 million a year either. He most certainly was due for a raise… and he'll most certainly get one. The question is… will that raise be too much of one for the Celtics?
Statistics via Basketball-Reference.com