Marc Stein on TrueHoop takes a look at Paul Pierce's recent statements that he'd be willing to "to re-work his contract to keep players in Boston." At first he states that the option of signing an extension wouldn't be of much benefit, but then he amends his statement later. Here's the two statements:
Pierce, though, would have two options if he wants to save the Celts some money:
1) The 2008 NBA Finals MVP can sign an extension at any time over the next two seasons that kicks in starting with 2011-12, but league rules say that the first-year salary in a new deal can only be reduced by a maximum of 10.5 percent from the $21.5 million Pierce is owed in 2010-11. That means the starting salary in an extension could only drop to $19.3 million.
UPDATE: My initial info from a cap expert on the first option has since been amended by another cap expert. More drastic reductions in salary are permissible in extensions, as seen recently when Washington's Antawn Jamison went from $16.4 million to $9.9 million in the first year of his Wizards extension in 2008-09 ... and when Pierce's teammate Kevin Garnett went from $24.8 million in the final year of his last Minnesota contract to $16.4 million with Boston last season.
2) Pierce could take the unlikely and rarely seen step of opting out of his contract after this season, leaving next season's $21.5 million on the table and signing a long-term deal at a reduced rate.
Very interesting. So he could take a drastic pay cut in exchange for a few more years on his contract and perhaps paving the way for a free agent player. Is this what Wyc was talking about over the summer when he said there was a way next summer to get under the cap enough to lure a max type player?
Update: In addition to the cold water Roy Hobbes threw on the "sign a max player dream" (via the comments below this post) we have a post from Paul Flannery stating most of the same sobering facts.
First things first. The Celtics already have about $33+ million committed to Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis and Wallace for 2010-11. Add to that a “cap hold” of $6.3 million for Rondo if he doesn’t sign an extension, and we’re already looking at about $40 million for five players before Pierce even does anything, let alone before the team makes a decision on Allen. The salary cap for this season is set at $57.7 million and there has already been talk that will trend down in 2010-11. (Celtics Blog has a good look at the down and dirty).