Paul Pierce Reaches Deal With Celtics
Pierce made a last-minute decision to opt out of his contract this week, leaving $21 million for the 2010-11 season on the table in order to lock up a long-term deal. It worked, as Pierce will be getting paid until he's 36 years old. The Herald reports the fourth year of the new deal is not guaranteed, and that Pierce's 2010-11 salary will be "significantly less" than the $21 million he would have received on his previous contract.
Still, with a new collective bargaining agreement looming, it was smart of Pierce to lock in what we can. Pierce and the Celtics looked on the verge of collapse before a magical playoff run that took Boston all the way to the seventh game of the NBA Finals. That run proved the Celtics' core can still be competitive at the highest level, and there'd be no sense in Boston tossing all that away in order to get from under Pierce's hefty salary.
It should be noted that this Boston management team has a history of getting players to take less than what they could possibly make on the open market. The Celtics locked up Rajon Rondo to a five-year, $65 million extension last summer when there's no question he'd be in line for something like Rudy Gay's five-year, $82 million deal had Boston waited a year. The Celtics also convinced Kevin Garnett to take a pay cut on his extension when his acquisition from the Timberwolves was under negotiations.
Next up is Ray Allen, the free agent shooting guard who has anchored the Celtics' wing with Pierce for three years. Allen turns 35 later this month, and it's far less a forgone conclusion he'll remain in Boston than it was with Pierce.