|What Pierce’s new deal means for the Celtics||07.02.10 at 9:59 am ET|
Multiple outlets are reporting that the Celtics have reached an agreement with Paul Pierce on a new contract that will likely keep him in Boston for the duration of his career. A source told Jeff Goodman of WEEI.com/FoxSports.com that the total package would be worth $61 million over four years, with all four years guaranteed.
Pierce left $21.5 million on the table for next season by terminating the final year of his contract and the new deal gives him certainty in what promises to be an uncertain NBA. The collective bargaining agreement is set to expire after the 2010-11 season, and the expectation is that the owners will try to rein in player’s salaries.
Pierce’s new deal will take the Celtics over the salary cap, but it may provide some luxury-tax relief in the long run, which is no small consideration.
There are risks for the Celtics. Pierce will be 36 years old in the final year of the deal, which can’t be finalized or officially announced until next week. It will also take him well beyond Kevin Garnett’s contract, which has two seasons remaining.
But four years is the cost of keeping the team together for another run at a championship and that has been Danny Ainge’s plan all along. Doc Rivers elected to return for the final season of his coaching contract earlier in the week, but the work is only half done. Read the rest of this entry »
|Report: Doc’s first call to Allen||07.01.10 at 11:53 pm ET|
“I can’t go into who but I can tell you we started at 12:01 last night like everybody else did,” he said. “The first call we called Ray. We sat around and we have these names on the list and we said hey guys our most important guy is Ray. We gotta get Ray back. Paul and Ray. And we already talked to Paul because we could. Ray is a vital part to our basketball team, huge.”
Allen, an unrestricted free agent, will undoubtedly be receiving several phone calls from around the league. According to a recent report in the Miami Herald, LeBron James contacted Allen about playing alongside he, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Allen stated during the season he would like to return to Boston.
|Barry on D&H: Pierce and Allen have ‘mileage’||at 12:27 pm ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Jon Barry joined the Dale & Holley show Thursday on the first day of the free-agency period in the NBA and discussed the Celtics‘ two biggest free agents, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. He said that both players have some ‘mileage’ on them and that although Boston wants to bring the pair back, it should be cautious before jumping right in and signing each.
‘I know Boston’s a great organization, and I know they want these two guys back,’ Barry said. ‘They’d love to make a run with the same team and see if they can do it again. But you have to use your head and decide whether these guys can get you back to that level.’
Barry also dished on who he thinks has the best shot at LeBron James‘he says it’s the Bulls’and just how bad it would be for Cleveland if it lost its King.
‘They’ll win no more than 28, maybe 30,’ he said. ‘They’ll be devastated. This guy means absolutely everything to this team. It’d be horrendous. Cleveland’s gone through so many hardships throughout the years with all their teams, but nothing can get worse than this. This would absolutely ruin this franchise.’
Some highlights from that interview are below. To hear the interview in its entirety, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Does Doc Rivers coming back help the Celtics have a chance at getting back to where they were halfway through Game 7?
Well, I honestly didn’t think they’d get into Game 7 this year. You saw this team. They were 27-27 in the last 54 games. This is a team that no one thought would have gotten to the finals. I didn’t write them off just because of their championship pedigree and the guys they have on this roster. I think that’s what made it so attractive for Doc to come back that it’s an intriguing group, it’s a different group. I think it’s a really special group that he has there. You think about what they’ve done. They put this together. They got a title in the first year that Garnett and Allen come in. If Kevin Garnett‘s not hurt last year, they have a real good opportunity to win again. Then this year, they have a 13-point lead in the second half of an NBA finals Game 7. You’re talking about a team that was on the cusp of winning three straight NBA titles so I guess to him that’s something attractive to come back and give it one more try.
What is the perception around the league of Paul Pierce?
I would just say aging. Two years ago when they won this thing, he was the best player in the playoffs. He outplayed Kobe Bryant. He outplayed LeBron James. He was the best player in the playoffs bar none. He was unbelievable. Just saw some chinks in the armor this year. He got banged up. He got injured. Looked to me to be a tired player at the end of the season last year. Quite frankly, I’d say Ron Artest outplayed him in Games 6 and 7, which I would have never thought possible. So he’s an aging guy. I think he’s only 31, but he just seems to have a lot of mileage on him. You know, an aging superstar. He’s still a superstar player though. Read the rest of this entry »
|Report: James wooing Allen?||at 12:12 am ET|
Stemming from an original report in the New York Daily News that James reached out to a free agent to join the trio on a ‘Dream Team,’ Jorge Sedano of the Miami Herald writes:
‘I’ve come across a source who has told me that free agent player could be Ray Allen. The source tells me that Allen has spoken to James and his preference is to remain with the Celtics, but that’s predicated on Paul Pierce remaining with the team. The money is not a huge factor. Winning more championships is the most important factor.’
Although the report did not specify which team James was referring to, the rumor mill has been buzzing for weeks about James, Wade, and Bosh signing together with the Heat.
For Allen, who turns 35 in July, he doesn’t just play basketball for the sake of it. He plays to win. But there is more to his free agency than just aligning himself with the hottest megastars for a shot at a title.
Allen likes playing in Boston and believes the C’s could have a chance to win it all next season should they return their core players. The fact that Doc Rivers is returning to the sidelines will also be a draw.
There is an off-the-court side to it as well. Allen’s young son is battling juvenile diabetes. He was hospitalized less than a month ago during the NBA finals. Being in Boston affords Allen the proximity to some of the best diabetic care in the country.
“I’ll deal with that when the time comes, but it’s obvious that I don’t want to be anywhere else,” Allen said of free agency following the Celtics Game 7 loss in the finals.
After the clock struck 12:01am on July 1, the time is here.
|Source: Doc Rivers returns to Celtics||06.30.10 at 1:31 pm ET|
The Herald’s Steve Bulpett was first to report the story.
This is very encouraging news for the Celtics and Danny Ainge as he attempts to bring back the core of the team for another run. The veteran players had all expressed support for Rivers while he took some time to consider his options.
It also allows the Celtics a degree of stability in what has been an eventful few weeks since their loss in Game 7 of the NBA finals against the Lakers.
In addition to Pierce’s decision, Tom Thibodeau was introduced as the head coach of the Bulls ending what had been a very successful three-year relationship between Rivers and his assistant. Also, Kendrick Perkins told reporters Tuesday that he would have surgery to repair a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament in his right knee and would probably be out until late December or January.
What isn’t known yet is whether Rivers would consider extending his contract beyond next season. But with the start of free agency Thursday, his return eliminates some of the guesswork for potential free agent targets and also increases the likelihood that veteran players who miss out on big contracts would sign with the Celtics.
|What Paul Pierce’s opt out means for the Celtics||06.29.10 at 11:28 pm ET|
As ESPN’s Marc Stein first reported, Paul Pierce will opt out of the final year of his contract, which will make him a free agent on July 1. While Pierce is leaving $21.5 million on the table, he is setting himself up for a longer deal before a new collective bargaining agreement is in place following next season.
The move, while not unexpected, makes Danny Ainge’s life a little more difficult as he attempts to bring back the core of the Celtics team for another run. The Celtics still retain Bird rights on Pierce and Ray Allen, which allows them to go over to the cap to re-sign both of them.
That remains the best course of action for Ainge. Despite their status as free agents, Pierce and Allen are still tied to the Celtics cap in the form of cap holds at around $20 million each until they sign a new deal. The Celtics would have to renounce both players, as well as the remaining six free agents on the roster, in order to get significantly under the cap to pursue free agents.
There is a chance that a team like the Clippers, Nets or Knicks could make a run at Pierce if they fail to sign LeBron James.
The big question on new deals for Pierce, and for Allen, is the length. Ainge would prefer to tie everything back to Kevin Garnett’s contract, which has two years remaining, but he may be forced to go to three, or even four years in Pierce’s case.
Still left to be determined before the start of free agency is whether Doc Rivers will return to coach the team, which may also have an impact on whether Pierce and Allen want to return.
|Celtics video: C’s react to loss||06.18.10 at 7:12 am ET|