Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Last week, Pierce was at the Celtics’ practice facility, reminiscing over the hours spent on that floor, the blood, sweat and tears shed so that he could one day be considered one of the all-time greats in franchise history.
And then he looks to the sky, sees the 2008 banner that he helped bring to Boston.
Putting up banners.
For all the praise and accolades a player can receive being a Celtic, winning titles is what it ultimately comes down to if you are to be among the immortals for the most storied franchise in NBA history.
It is a message Pierce doesn’t hesitate to share with this new generation of Celtics, which includes young players such as Jayson Tatum.
“I feel I can help out this young generation and impact that way,” Pierce said. “I can still talk about the game. I enjoy talking about the game, being around it; traveling to see games. It’s always going to be in my blood. It’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. So, it’s gonna be hard to completely pull me away from the game.”
But helping ease that process will be the knowledge that he’ll get to spend more time with his wife and three children significantly more now than he did as a player.
There’s no downside to having Paul Pierce around. He retired last season, but it seems like he’s been gone longer. Since he was shipped to the Brooklyn Nets in 2013, he’s assumed the position of Boston sports legend.
He visited Boston last week and praised Jayson Tatum, calling the rookie a more mature version of himself. The two players have countless similarities. Upon selecting Tatum, the organization immediately made comparisons between their old school games.
Since Pierce was drafted in 1998, the Celtics have shied away from offensive-minded rookies. They lean towards defensive-oriented raw talent like Avery Bradley, Tony Allen, and Jaylen Brown. With Jayson Tatum, the Celtics have a rookie with offensive polish not seen since the days of Pierce.
The Truth didn’t shy away from other Boston-centric topics. He liked the Kyrie Irving trade, and said Kyrie’s ready for an expanded role with the Celtics, and it’s his time “the guy” on a championship team after years of playing at LeBron’s side.
Pierce is holding it down nicely at ESPN, appearing regularly on The Jump, and is expected to have a major role for the upcoming season’s NBA coverage. It makes too much sense for him to eventually join the Celtics in some capacity.
After a few years in the media, I can see Pierce getting hired by the team as a Front-Office Liaison/Special Consultant/Player Development Official. In the past, he’s talked about his desires to join a front office, and there might have been a “wink wink” deal after he agreed to the 2013 Nets trade. His championship wisdom and legend status should help the Celtics inch closer to Banner 18.
Page 2: What Will a Marcus Smart Extension look like?
We’re a week away from training camp and two weeks from the team’s first preseason game. But the date fans should focus on is October 16th, the deadline for completing an extension with Marcus Smart.
The Celtics haven’t offered the rookie-contract extension (only available for players between their 3rd and 4th year) since Rajon Rondo received a 4 year/$44 million deal in 2009. Over the life of the contract, it became one of the league’s best bargains.
They offered a similar deal to Avery Bradley after his 4th year, before he hit restricted free agency. His 4 year/$32 million contract seemed like an overpay at the time, but also turned into a bargain. Danny Ainge and the front office have a keen sense on how players will develop and whether the contract can turn into an asset.
It’s unclear what type of deal Smart is looking for, and there haven’t been many contracts to set the market. Josh Richardson recently received a 4 year/$42 million deal from the Heat, and the league is waiting on Utah’s Rodney Hood and Denver’s Gary Harris to complete their extensions.
Smart and his agent will point to the Victor Oladipo and CJ McCollum contracts — each received a $20 million annual salary. He won’t get that much, but if Smart takes a step forward in his development and the Celtics can’t secure an extension, a team might throw a huge offer next offseason.
Smart represents a unique case. He’s already an elite defensive guard, and his versatility allows Brad Stevens to slot him on opposing wings. He’s made strides as a playmaker and ballhandler, but still can’t figure out his jump shot.
If the Celtics offered $15-18 million annually, it would be considered an overpay. But Smart still has room for improvement and can reach that value with some offensive development.
A contract in the $12-14 range seems like proper value, given Smart’s current skills and potential upside. Anything under $12 million would be a steal for the Celtics, but I can’t imagine Smart and his agent accepting that offer. They’re much better served waiting for a year.
But restricted free agency hasn’t been kind to guys like Nerlens Noel and JaMichael Green. Every year, the cap space dries up, and restricted free agents can’t cash in on the big money deals.
We know the Celtics love Marcus Smart, and he has a major role for the upcoming season. The Celtics can offer 4 years/$50 million, and given Smart’s injury history and shooting struggles, Smart might jump on the deal for the long-term security. The Celtics would be thrilled to have him at that price.
But Smart is not a complete product and he’ll likely want another season to showcase his ability. The Celtics are hoping they can reach common ground and secure Smart as the glue-guy of the future on a value contract, like Avery Bradley before him.
The Rest of the Links:
NBA.com: 30 teams in 30 days: Boston Celtics
Bleacher Report: NBA Sidekicks Who Should Have Their Own Teams
Boston.com: Assault Trial Begins for Morris Brothers