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For the third day in a row, the Celtics were busy officially announcing a recent signing. Thursday was Paul Pierce's turn.
"Paul has been a cornerstone of our franchise for the last decade and we could not be more pleased that he is returning to the team," said Celtics President of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge.
"I am very excited to be back in Boston," said Pierce. "I have always said that I would love to retire as a Celtic and re-signing here will allow me to do that. I would like to thank Danny, Doc, the ownership group and the rest of the organization. I'm thrilled that they kept the core intact and look forward to getting back on the parquet with my teammates so we can bring Banner 18 home to Boston."
While Pierce is "very excited to be back in Boston," today's press conference was not all positive. Indeed, Pierce took his time in front of the press to address concerns over the Celtics' offseason, saying they still have "a lot of work to do."
"I thought it was a great move picking up Jermaine [O'Neal], giving us an inside presence in case Rasheed [Wallace] retires, but sometimes I'm looking at all the players signing and wish we would get on the ball a little bit. I trust in Danny putting a good team around us, but I'm sitting here watching all these good players fall to other teams." [...]
"We got a lot [to add] right now," said Pierce. "We lost TA, we don't have Nate [Robinson], we might not have Rasheed. We gotta add a bench. We got our work cut out. We need perimeter defense and we need to add a backup point guard to help out [Rajon] Rondo, if Nate doesn't come back. And we need another big."
The few days of uncertainty regarding Paul Pierce re-signing with the Celtics is seemingly no more. A source has told ESPN's Ric Bucher that Pierce has agreed to a four-year, $61 million deal with Boston. Additionally, the source said that the tricky fourth year is fully guaranteed.
It is not immediately known if a no-trade clause is included in the deal, "which Pierce is eligible for by virtue of having at least eight years of service time and four with the same team."
ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg reminds that the deal cannot be official until July 8.
Let's be honest, did we ever expect Pierce to walk away? The 12th-year veteran is synonymous with Boston and even when he opted out of his deal earlier this week, walking away from $21.5 million, it seemed unfathomable that he could end up in any other city. [...]
And while we all expected Pierce back, the Celtics can breathe a sigh of relief because there was no quality Plan B. If Pierce had walked away, the team would have been bound by the salary cap and it was unlikely they could have secured a player of his talent -- at least without cutting ties with Allen as well -- particularly in this deep-pocketed market where free agents are receiving head-shaking amounts of money early in the process. It might only get worse as the pickings get slimmer for cash-gushing teams that spent much of the past season clearing space to lure a superstar, but could get left scraping for whatever is leftover.
While reports differed on Friday as to whether or not the fourth year was guaranteed, one thing that seemingly everyone could agree on was that Paul Pierce had indeed reached a new deal with the Celtics. But now, "according to sources with firsthand knowledge of the negotiations," there has not yet been an agreement between the two sides, and Friday saw "little progress made."
The Pierce camp would like a four-year, fully guaranteed deal at about $15 million per season, but the Celtics are haggling as to whether to fully guarantee the fourth year, which would end the contract when Pierce is 36.
The sides have been talking since Pierce opted out of the final year of his contract, worth $21.5 million, late Tuesday night. Pierce, according to those close to the situation, has not negotiated with another club. The sides can only agree on a deal at this point; free agent contracts cannot be officially signed until July 8.
But we already know that Pierce has not negotiated with any other teams, so should this be a point of concern for Celtics fans? CelticsBlog says no.
I fully expect the two sides to reach an agreement before July 8 (when free agents can officially sign with teams), and I wouldn't even be horribly opposed to the fourth year being guaranteed, as long as Pierce knows he might be part of a rebuilding process in the last one or two years of the deal (unless Ainge can rebuild on the fly over the course of the next few years, with Pierce obviously taking a lesser role as new players are brought in. I certainly wouldn't be shocked if Danny found a way to make that work).
In terms of cap space in four years, as of right now, if Pierce does sign a deal that would pay him roughly $15 million per season, only his and Rondo's contracts would be on the payroll, totaling about $27 million. Even though a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) will be negotiated on at the end of next season, if the salary cap heading into the 2013-2014 season resembles anything close to the projected $56 million salary cap for next season, the C's will still have about $30 million in cap space to sign other players. But, it seems safe to say other moves will take place in between now and then, so I'm sure we'll see more than just Rondo and Pierce signed to deals at that point.
Will the Celtics be overpaying for Pierce in three of four years? Perhaps. But, I don't think it's outlandish to say Pierce has at least two very good seasons left in him, if not three, depending on how kind Father Time is to him. So, for the next two years you could argue that the C's are getting Pierce at a quality price, and he's still going to serve as one of the key cogs for a team that seems to be aiming towards remaining contenders for the championship for at least the next two seasons.
While all reports Friday morning indicate that Paul Pierce has indeed re-signed with the Celtics after opting out earlier in the week, it's important to note that nothing is yet completely official (and can't be until July 8).
In fact, the Boston Globe is reporting that "a source close to the negotiations said that the deal is not done." But Pierce wants to remain a Celtic, and Boston is the only club he's negotiated with, so all signs still point to The Truth staying in the Celtics' green. The hold up right now is the fourth year of the contract.
Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, who originally broke the news, reports that it was confirmed to be a four-year deal worth $61 million, adding that there is a mutual option after the first three years. However, Fox Sports' Jeff Goodman says that all four years are guaranteed.
A four-year deal is important, because it would earn Pierce a no-trade clause in the contract, likely ensuring he would retire with the Celtics.
The value to the Celtics is having the option to cut most of his salary from the books in the 4th year (or trade him to a team looking to cut payroll). The value to Pierce (other than the extra money) is getting a no-trade clause (that only kicks in if he signs for 4 years). Sounds like a win-win.
At this point, it seems that just the final details need to be worked out in a deal that will have Pierce ending his career with the Celtics.
While financial details regarding Paul Pierce's new contract with the Celtics have not been released, and likely won't be until the contract becomes official per league rules on July 8, Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports is reporting that it is less than a max deal: "According to a source close to the Celtics, Pierce's new contract is a 4-year, $61 million deal." That would break down to an average of $15.25 million per season (significantly less than the $21.5 million he stood to make in 2010-11 per the terms of his old deal).
Paul Pierce has been with the Celtics his whole career, and it looks like it will stay that way after the two sides agreed to a new contract, the Boston Herald reports.
The Celtics opened talks with Pierce Thursday night, and they clearly went well, because by Friday morning, it was being reported that they had reached a four-year deal, with the first three years guaranteed. Nothing can be made official until July 8, per league rules.
No financial details were made available, but Pierce will be making less than the $21.5 million he was set to earn in the 2010-11 season before opting out of his previous contract, a move he made in hopes of securing a longer deal. Looks like it worked out nicely for him.
Head over to CelticsBlog for fan reaction.
NBA free agency hasn't even been open 24 hours and it seems that the Celtics and Paul Pierce are "making progress" on a new deal:
It wasn't very surprising Tuesday night when Paul Pierce decided to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Celtics. And it's equally unsurprising to learn less than 24 hours later that the team expects to re-sign the 12-year veteran, this according to "multiple sources" close to Boston, reports ESPN's Andy Katz.
According to the sources, the Celtics expect the Pierce deal to be wrapped up sooner than later but free agent Ray Allen could take longer into the summer. The Celtics also have to decide what to do with free agents/reserves Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, Shelden Williams, Marquis Daniels and Brian Scalabrine.
As we've said before, this summer promises to be a busy one for the Celtics.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has been hard at work recently trying to keep Paul Pierce with the Celtics. Though he didn’t manage to wrap up the perennial All-Star, Ainge remains confident that both parties want to see Pierce back in green come October:
“We were negotiating an extension in good faith,’’ said Ainge. “He’s worked hard to become a free agent, but I still think that in his heart of hearts he still wants to stay in Boston.
“It’s all a negotiation,’’ he said. “Risk is involved in all of these things. But I’m telling him that we would like him to come back and make another run at a title.’’
Still, Ainge has made it clear that Pierce is not the team’s only option, and that they won’t make any move that’s not in the best interest of the Celtics:
“There’s too many other things that factor in right now,’’ said Ainge. “Who else can we get? But it’s not all dependent on getting Paul back. I don’t think it all rests on his shoulders.’’
Pierce has been the face of the Celtics for the last decade, but with Rajon Rondo becoming the new nucleus of the team, a long and expensive deal for Pierce could be too much of a commitment for a team torn between taking a final shot at another title, and building for the future.
John Krolik of Pro Basketball Talk writes that Celtics president Danny Ainge has some dificult decisions coming this summer now that Paul Pierce has opted out of his contract.
Assuming Stein’s report is accurate, both Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are now unrestricted free agents. The Celtics hold both Allen and Pierce’s “Bird rights,” meaning that they can pay both Allen and Pierce regardless of Boston’s salary cap number. Because of Boston’s encouraging playoff run and those “Bird rights,” Boston will likely be able to keep the “Big Three” together if they really want to.
However, keeping both Pierce and Allen will cost a lot of money, and both players showed their age at times last season. The time for Danny Ainge and Co. to make some tough choices about the future of the Celtics is now. In the coming weeks, we’ll see just how much Ainge is willing to pay for the chance to give Rajon Rondo and the “Big Three” one or two more chances at raising banner #18.
Paul Flannery of WEEI’s Green Street blog writes that Paul Pierce’s decision to opt out was “not unexpected” but that it does mean some extra work this summer for Boston Celtics president of basketball operations manager Danny Ainge.
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.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com has posted a full story regarding Paul Pierce’s decision to opt out after breaking the news earlier on Twitter. Stein writes that Pierce will seek a multi-year contract and will field offers from multiple NBA teams. The Celtics, however, will get first dibs.
By opting out, Pierce will forfeit next season’s $21.5 million salary but becomes eligible to sign a new four-year deal with the Celtics worth a maximum of $96 million and can receive four-year offers from other teams worth a maximum $93 million.
Sources said that Pierce will begin free agency by talking first to the Celtics when the market opens on Thursday at 12:01 a.m., but the 32-year-old will field other offers.
External interest in Pierce is hard to gauge because there has been so little discussion in recent months about his potential free agency and because of the heavy load he has carried for the Celtics in recent seasons.
While no one wants to see their team’s franchise player opt out, the odds remain significantly better than even that Pierce remains a Celtic going forward. But at what price?
Marc Stein and Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com are reporting that Celtics guard Paul Pierce has decided to opt out of his contract. Stein had it first on Twitter.
Stein's report was followed shortly thereafter by a similar one from Sheridan.
The decision wasn't entirely unexpected but it has drawn a few questions from Greg Payne at CelticsBlog.
It remains unclear what Pierce's intentions are at this point. Is he opting out in order to work out a new extension? Or is he opting out in order to legitimately test the free agent waters?
Head over to SB Nation's CelticsBlog where the discussion is already going strong.
The 12-year veteran has the ability to opt out of the final year of his contract -- and the $21.5 million that comes with it -- before midnight Wednesday night (12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday officially marks the beginning of the NBA free agency period), and enter the world as a free agent seeking a longer deal.
So the question is: will he do it?
"I do have doubts," said Danny Ainge last week on WEEI when asked if he thought Pierce would return to finish out his contract. "I'm not certain of what Paul may do. I don't know because he may be able to get a long-term contract somewhere else. It may be better than what we have [to offer]."
SB Nation's CelticsBlog has already provided their take on the matter, believing that Pierce will stay with Boston, even if he does decide to opt out.
If he opts out of his last year to become a free agent, the intent will be to restructure his deal to add years to it. The big value there is the uncertainty of the year after next where the league faces a collective bargaining agreement battle. If there's a prolonged strike or lockout, it could prevent free agents (like Pierce would be if he doesn't restructure his deal) from getting another deal. If the work stoppage lasts all year, all the players could lose a whole year of money and a free agent like Pierce would be that much older.
We'll all know much more come midnight tomorrow night.
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