Ainge said today that there was considerable discussion within the front office about whether to make Powe a qualifying offer. The executive director of basketball operations also said that he raised the possibility of signing Powe to a veteran’s minimum two-year contract with a team option in the second year - the very deal Powe just signed with Cleveland - but that the forward rejected the idea. . . .
"Unfortunately, the way things turned out, Leon took it to mean that we didn’t want him back, and that wasn’t necessarily the case," said Ainge. "Though we didn’t extend him the qualifying offer, we did talk to him about coming back. I told Leon from the beginning that what happened is what I thought would happen - that he’d get a two-year contract with a team option.
"But I want everyone to know that I love Leon and wish him the best," said Ainge. "I hope he does well. We’re all better for having known Leon."
Leon sees it slightly differently:
"I knew they were done with me then," Powe said today from his home in Oakland. "But I’m not mad at nobody. I’m just going to do as always - play as hard as I can. I guess they just felt that they needed someone available for the full year."
. . . Powe still tried to plead his case with Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca.
"I talked to him for 45 minutes," said Powe. "But he said they weren’t going to do nothing. It was quite a shock to me, but he said they didn’t have the extra money to sign me, and (Pagliuca) said that he would have to pay out of his own pocket for them to wait on me. . . .
Powe still has a soft spot for the team and the fans, though:
"Yeah, that’s going to be unusual, because I love Boston and all of its fans," he said. "There’s no hard feelings. I understand that you need someone who can play the whole season."