As Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge told SportsCenter 5 on Sports OT last Sunday night the Celtics are not surprised at all that Paul Pierce has decided to opt out of the final year of his 21.5 million dollar. With the millions of dollars (as in cap space) cleared out by teams with the possibility of signing Lebron James, Dewayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, amongst a few others, Pierce’s move was expected. Ainge told us last week that Pierce’s situation was one of the 1st 3 situations he had to address this week.
So is Pierce gone? That depends on Pierce who has claimed that he wants to end his career. We’ll see exactly how loyal he really is compared to how greedy he is.
The Celtics will not break the bank for Pierce (they can pay him as much as 96 million over the next 4 years). Pierce will be 33 years old in October. He has played 12 seasons and 985 games. His career clearly is not on the upswing. He is still a valuable commodity but Celtics management will not allow Pierce’s demands to handcuff the franchise’s financial flexibility.
So will Pierce really leave the team who drafted him, stood by him thru his stabbing incident and with whom he won a championship? That depends solely on his ego.
Will/can he get bigger offers from other teams? Yes, as in New York and New jersey who will probably lose out on the big 3 or 4 free agents. Is money alone going to be the deciding factor in Pierce’s decision? We’ll soon find out exactly how loyal Pierce is. I have my doubts because I know how much money means to these guys even with all of the money they have already made. Pierce has already pocketed about 100 million dollars (60 million in the last 3 years alone). Really, how much more do you need? We’ll find out in the next week or 2