This is why they call it negotiation.
While the Nets are reportedly only willing to offer Paul Pierce between $6 million and $8 million, the future Hall of Famer thinks he's worth considerably more...
Paul Pierce's representatives have told teams Pierce is seeking a two-year contract in the $9-10 million per year range, per sources.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) July 7, 2014
Is that too rich for the Nets, who Billy King has said want to be "financially responsible?" Could be but there are other elements to any negotiation, starting with the number of years ... and the venue where he wants to play.
Nets FA Paul Pierce wants to play at least 2 more seasons, likes the way his body is holding up & is still very high on Nets, a source said.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 7, 2014
Could the Nets, for example, offer Pierce one year at $8 million with a team option? Could they offer him three years at $6 million, with a small guarantee in the third year? Then, there's the question do they want to weigh down 2016-17 with players who are past their prime, like Pierce and, if they get him, Jarrett Jack. Not likely.
The Nets remained mum on the subject of Pierce. As one long-time observer of the team said after the Lionel Hollins press conference, "if you want to shut people up, say two words, 'Paul Pierce.'"
Hollins in fact deferred all questions to Billy King. "It would be premature for me to reach out to Paul Pierce, who’s a free agent," Hollins said. King was careful to say the two sides continue to negotiate, without engaging in discussion of competition for Pierce, mainly focused now on the Clippers. But the Clippers have cap issues. They can only acquire Pierce in a sign-and-trade where the Nets sent them more money than whatever the Clippers would pay Pierce. So if Doc Rivers wants to pay Pierce $9 million next season, he'd have to send the Nets contracts larger than that. LA is capped out. So while it can do S&T deals, it can't take in more money under the CBA.
Other teams, particularly the Bulls, may have cap space or can easily get it, if they lose out on Carmelo Anthony. Pierce is likely to be part of the back-up plans for a number of teams that lose out on Melo or LeBron James. Whether he will prefer them to the Nets remains to be seen.
And to top things off, Pierce tweeted out that he's participating in the World Series of Poker. Well played, Mr. Pierce, well played.
- NBA free agent rumors: Paul Pierce 'is still very high' on Nets - Charles Curtis - Star-Ledger
- Sources: Pierce wants $9-10 million per year - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
Free agent Pierce waits for dominoes to fall - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Report: Pierce wants two years, around $18M - Jimmy Toscano - Comcast Sports Net
- Nets free agent Paul Pierce is playing in World Series of Poker Main Event - Charles Curtis - Star-Ledger