NBA All-Star forward Paul Pierce, who had an early termination option, has notified the Boston Celtics that he will opt out of the final year of his contract making him an unrestricted free agent for the first time.
Paul Pierce’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, confirmed the decision to opt out via text message to ESPN.com. By opting out and becoming a free agent, Pierce is forfeiting his next season’s $21.5 million salary from the Celtics.
Paul Pierce opting out of his contract is just another piece of the puzzle making the Boston Celtics’ future uncertain.
Celtics Shooting Guard Ray Allen also becomes a free agent this year. In addition, Celtics coach Doc Rivers has yet to decide if he wants to continue coaching, or take a break to spend time with his family.
Many find it hard to believe that the Boston Celtics will let an All-Star such as Paul Pierce leave the team.
The most Boston can give Pierce is a four-year deal worth a maximum of $96 million. They of course hope to re-sign him for less than that. The maximum Pierce could receive from other teams is a four-year deal worth $93 million.
When asked to gauge the likelihood of re-signing Pierce, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said, “I don’t know because he may be able to get a long-term contract somewhere else. It may be better than what we have [to offer].”
Another notable NBA All-Star that has opted out of his contract is Dallas Maverick’s Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki has notified the Dallas Mavericks that he is opting out of the final year of his contract – which would have paid him $21.5 million – to test the free agent waters. He is another free agent that many doubt his team will really let him walk.
Dallas Mavericks team president Don Nelson said “He is our No. 1 priority—period,” when speaking about Dirk Nowitzki.
Don Nelson has booked a flight to Germany, where Nowitzki is spending his off time, to discuss his free agency and make it clear that keeping him is very important to them.