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Paul Pierce to Become Unrestricted Free Agent

Paul Pierce representing the name on the front of the jersey. (Photo courtesy Boston Celtics)

ESPN has reported that the most exciting free agent class in the NBA’s history has now grown by one. According to the World Wide Leader, Paul Pierce has notified the Boston Celtics that he will opt out of the final year of his contract before Wednesday’s deadline, forgoing a guaranteed $21.5 million and becoming an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.

The news comes as little surprise as Pierce appears to be angling for a $96 million maximum contract over the next four years. At his advanced age with increasing mileage on his NBA odometer, Pierce is smart not to risk a mediocre season, even at the rate of $21.5 million. He, like many league sources, is confident that the Celtics will refuse to allow Pierce to go elsewhere, thus the move seems to be a safe bet. One can hardly fault the man for his attempt at landing one last big-time payday.

Pierce will now become eligible to sign a new four-year deal with the Celtics worth a maximum of $96 million but can also receive four-year offers from other teams worth a maximum $93 million.

Danny Ainge played coy last week during a radio appearance on WEEI, and outside interest in Pierce has been difficult to gauge as most of the focus has been on LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and Joe Johnson, who most believe are looking for greener pastures.

Many times Pierce has expressed his desire to retire a Celtic, and has a great appreciation for the team’s history. Though a departure seems far-fetched, his decision certainly adds a bit more spice to an already smoking NBA offseason.

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2 comments for “Paul Pierce to Become Unrestricted Free Agent”

  1. […] Paul Pierce to Become Unrestricted Free Agent […]

    Posted by What Is Paul Pierce’s Optimum Option? | Sports of Boston | June 30, 2010, 12:56 am
  2. I love Paul Pierce. I do. But this is a dick move. Only way it makes sense is if he’s had a backdoor conversation with Ainge in which he agrees to retire after 2 years of the deal. At his age, Pierce is asking for far more than his worth, and forcing the C’s to commit more money to staying old, when he could be taking a pay cut for the C’s to make a serious run at Boozer or David Lee.

    I can’t say I understand this. From afar, it looks like a money grab by a guy who has always been classier than that. Problem is, with the way Danny has shown zero loyalty to his stars (he just wants to win, and it’s hard to fault him for that, but that DOES have consequences), Pierce probably feels threatened that after next year, Ainge will undoubtedly let him go/put pressure on him to retire.

    I don’t know that I see this ending well for either side . As much as I don’t like Boston placing one MORE hat into the ring for this year’s free agent crop and basing their future on that, I think a team that’s paying Pierce the max for 4 more years is far more likely to be a first round out than a contender.

    Posted by Will | June 30, 2010, 12:03 pm

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