It has been announced late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning that Paul Pierce has opted out of his contract and triggered his early termination contract to become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday. This news has come less than 24 hours before free agent signing begins.
Paul Pierce will join the likes of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudemire, and Carlos Boozer as free agent signing begins on July 1st at midnight.
To get a better understanding of what this means, yes the Boston Celtics still have the option of signing Pierce, and that still seems to be the most likely situation. This would benefit both Paul Pierce as well as the Celtics team. For Pierce, it would allow him to sign an extended contract that would last him the next four years, rather than his current contract which would be expiring after this season. For the Celtics organization, it would allow them to clear a bit of cap space for this coming season, as they would not be paying Pierce as much for this season as they would have on his previous contract.
There is however the possibility of other teams targeting Pierce, especially with all of the cap room that teams have available. If Pierce and the Celtics are not able to reach an agreement, there will definitely be interest from GM’s across the league. Pierce now joins the list of top talent other than Lebron, Wade, and Bosh who would benefit from the three top free agents joining forces, leaving other teams with excess cash to spend. (See article: http://wegotthiscovered.com/2010/06/29/looking-past-the-big-three/)
If Pierce isn’t happy with the way that the Celtics are building their team for next year, or if he demands a contract that the Celtics are not willing to pay, he could be seeking a new home very soon. The Celtics will be the first team that Pierce meets with at 12:01 am on July 1st, and if things don’t work out the Celtics will need to act in a hurry.
Danny Ainge, GM of the Boston Celtics, who mentioned last week that he would like to keep the core of the team together for next season, is now threatened by the possibility of losing unrestricted free agents: Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, as well as their head coach Doc Rivers whose decision on whether to stay or not may now be affected by the decisions of two of his star players.
The Celtics won’t be able to sit back and wait for Pierce and Allen to make up their minds because if Allen and Pierce do decide to leave the team, the Celtics will have to clear their contracts off of their salary cap as fast as possible so that they can pursue other free agents that may be available to replace two of the 2008 NBA Champions.
This news just adds to the craziness that is going to be unfolding in the next couple of days.