Pierce's Return Signals Hope For Celtics
Reports that Paul Pierce will take a hometown discount of $61 million to stay in Boston for four more years is great news for Celtics fans.
When Pierce opted out of his contract last week, it put Boston in a sticky situation. With Kevin Garnett on the books for $40 million over the next two years, it would be difficult for them to sign Pierce to a max contract and still stay in playoff contention.
As it turned out, Pierce made it easy on them.
As a 12-year veteran a championship ring and tons of playoff experience, he could have found a far more lucrative deal on the free agent market. Instead, he chose the selfless route and opened the door for the Celtics to re-sign Ray Allen and keep the Big Three together.
Pierce's new $15.25 million per year deal means the Celtics have an estimated $10 million left under the luxury tax ($16 million if Rasheed Wallace retires) to sign Allen and either David Lee or Brad Miller, which would again put them in championship contention.
Whether or not Allen, 34, opts for a similar pay cut as Pierce remains to be seen. But I doubt he'll put the squeeze on Danny Ainge and Co. After all, if not for the Celtics, Allen's hand would probably be ring-less right now.
The Celtics reached out to Allen at the stroke of the free agent clock, and it appears likely that he'll be on board for at least one more championship run next season.
If that's the case, the Celtics owe it all to Pierce.
Few free agents are as unselfish as The Truth. He put his money where his mouth was when he said he wanted to put the team first, a rarity in the era of free agency.
Boston Globe writer Christopher Gasper hit the nail on the head when he said Pierce chose Green over green.
The Celtics are lucky to have him.