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Irish Coffee: Paul Pierce faces unwarranted criticism

I understand why role players would just want to accept the most recent NBA owners’ proposal, regardless of whether or not it benefits them or others just like them beyond the 2011-12 season.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

As longtime NBA assistant coach Herb Brown told The Jersey Journal [1], ‘€œI think it’€™s terrible, it’€™s awful. [Someone like] Kevin Garnett [2] doesn’€™t get hurt by this situation, but the 10th, 11th and 12th man does.’€ Still, there’s a reason you’re not supposed to shop for groceries when you’re hungry.

Take 22-year-old Cavaliers [3] forward Samardo Samuels, for example. He’s among the rank-and-file NBA players who would have accepted the owners’ final proposal — if the NBPA ever gave him the chance to vote — and does not support Celtics [4] captain Paul Pierce [5]‘s charge to decertify the union.

‘€œIt’€™s easy for Paul Pierce to say that,” Samuels told the Akron Beacon Journal [6]. “You’€™ve been in the league how long? You’€™ve got a decent amount of money saved up, but what about the guys just coming into the league who don’€™t have [anything] saved up?’€

Wouldn’t you rather have players with the luxury of thinking beyond the 2011-12 NBA season calling the shots on a 10-year collective bargaining agreement than someone who needs money now?

All Samuels is thinking about is the $788,672 he might miss out on if the lockout erases this season, but that’s an infinitesimal percentage of the approximate $1 billion players would lose over the course of the deal if they dropped from 52 percent of basketball-related income to 50 percent.

‘€œIt wasn’€™t an easy decision,’€ Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo [7] told the Herald [8]. ‘€œBut at the end of the day, you can’€™t look selfishly when you try to make these decisions. You try to look for the best decision as a whole.’€

Samuels is a free agent after the 2011-12 season. He had a pretty decent rookie season in Cleveland, averaging 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds. Because of the luxury tax restrictions in the most recent owners’ proposal, the difference between what he would make next summer could mean the difference between one and a few million dollars. In the long run, he might have Pierce & Co. to thank for that.

Which is precisely why I don’t completely understand Big Baby’s position on all of this.

“Hopefully the union just made that decision for every player in the league, and not just 30,” Glen Davis [9] told the Herald [10]. “Are they making that decision for the rest of us? Or are they just making that decision for the Kobes of this league — guys who have made a lot of money already.”

Like restricted free agent Jeff Green [11], who along with Rondo were among the 30 players to sign off on disbanding the union in New York on Monday, Davis is one player who may stand to lose the most if players accepted the latest deal on the table. The Celtics would be deathly afraid of enacting his Bird rights and exceeding the luxury tax line while other potential suitors would be either unable or unwilling to offer mid-level exception deals, thus severely limiting his options.

If you ask me, this is exactly what the owners wanted, hoping hundreds of players who don’t have financial security can convince those who do to cave. Perhaps they didn’t count on the resilience of vociferous leaders like Pierce to be willing to sacrifice now in order to benefit the union down the road.


The bad news: The NBA lockout could erase the season.

The good news: Jimmy Jam isn’t giving up.

Just as when Bill Russell [12] speaks, you listen, the same is true about Jimmy Jam. You remember Jimmy Jam, who along with Terry Lewis produced such ’90s music classics as Janet Jackson‘s “That’s the Way Love Goes,” George Michael‘s “Monkey,” Boyz II Men’s “On Bended Knee.”

Since he could be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner in just over a week with brother-in-law Kevin Garnett (their wives are sisters), his opinion is as good as yours or mine — if not much, much better. Or much, much worse.

Asked by the Minneapolis Star Tribune [13] if he thought KG would want to return to the Timberwolves [14] “now that the sheen is off the Celtics,” Jimmy Jam said, “I don’t think the sheen is off the Celtics. As a matter of fact, in a shortened NBA season I think it gives them a big advantage to the old legs of the Celtics. In a 40-game regular season, I would make the Celtics favorites.”

There you have it, folks. The word of the Jimmy Jam. Thanks be to Jimmy Jam.


In a 72-71 Benetton Treviso victory over the weekend, Brian Scalabrine [15] totaled 14 points on near-perfect 7-of-8 shooting in 33 minutes. Celtics second-round draft pick E’Twaun Moore [16] totaled just nine points on 3-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes. …

Vanoli Cremona’s Von Wafer [17] scored 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting in 30 minutes during an 85-78 loss.

Nenad Krstic [18] scored 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes during a 74-65 CSKA Moscow victory.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach [19] on Twitter.)