Sources have told ESPN.com that Celtic forward and captain Paul Pierce will excercise the early termination clause in his contract to become a free agent by the July 1st deadline.
By opting out, Pierce will forfeit next season's $21.5 million salary but becomes eligible to sign a new four-year deal with the Celtics worth a maximum of $96 million and can receive four-year offers from other teams worth a maximum $93 million.
It is unlikely Pierce would receive a contract longer than four years, because a fifth season would begin when Pierce was 37 and -- under the league's over-36 rule -- would have costly salary cap implications for any team signing him.
I personally think this a move by Pierce to draw attention to himself. The Captain was due 21.5 million this coming year while a new deal can only gain him 2.5 million more per year by the Celtics and that is assuming the team goes and offers him a max deal. It is a dumb situation that just makes the Celtics players in this free agent class. Do I think they will go get LeBron now? No. All I am saying is that between Rasheed, Ray Allen and Pierce coming off the books the Celtics now have a lot of cap room to play with. What is stopping Danny Ainge from going and getting Joe Johnson back? They could pay him less than Pierce and he is younger. Put him out there with Garnett, Perk(when back), Rondo, and two other solid free agents. That might be a better team than they had this year. You could even sign Ray back and go get a forward to replace Pierce. This could be a move Pierce regrets for the rest of his life. He showed up inconsistently in the playoffs and literally turned his back on Rondo one game before half. If I was Danny Ainge, I would seriously consider letting him go.