Post-game Reactions

If it looks too good to be true, it usually is. The rumors of a trade centered around Ray Allen for Antwan Jamison and Caron Butler: looks to be a terrific deal, that makes sense for both teams on the surface.

The C’s get two motivated veterans to upgrade their inconsistent offense and improve their Championship chances. Washington gets rid of 2 big contracts that allows them to start rebuilding after this season ends. A win-win right? Not quite, as multiple sources, including Danny Ainge have shot down the Yahoo Sports rumored report by Adrian Wojnarowski.

Fans of the C’s are thrilled about the prospect of the deal and Wizards bloggers I’ve read today have reacted favorably as well, for the potential cap space the move would provide. Now Danny Ainge has come out and denied any kind of talks with the Wizards involving said players, but let’s just speculate for a minute and say he was posturing with those remarks and actually is interested in the deal. Same for the Wizards executives.

Even if everyone was on board, I still don’t think it’s possible this deal would get done. What would be the hold up you ask? It’s quite simple really. Money.

I wrote about the C’s salaries at length back in November after the Rajon Rondo extension was signed, so instead of rehashing it all,I’ll quote myself here to give you an overview of the C’s salary situation for next year so I can explain my argument further.

The Celtics have over 63 million dollars committed in contracts for next year. Not a huge problem you say? Well what If I told you all that money was allotted to just six players. With this harsh reality in mind, let’s break down the numbers and see how it affects the C’s options going into next year.

First a look at the player salaries to see how the dollar figures break down. These come courtesy of Shamsports.com

Paul Pierce: 21.5 million (player option)
Kevin Garnett: 18.8 million
Rasheed Wallace: 6.3 million
Kendrick Perkins: 4.9 million
Glen Davis: 3 million
Rajon Rondo: 9.1 million*

Total salary committed: 63.6 million

The salary cap situation for next year. Based on a report from ESPN.com back in July, here are the numbers the league is projecting the salary cap and luxury tax to be at for next year’s season.

Salary Cap: Somewhere between 50.4-53.6 million
Luxury Tax: Somewhere between 61.2-65 million

Those projections would be a sharp dropoff from this year’s cap and tax numbers of 57.7 and 69.9 million respectively. The Celtics total salary for this year is 84.5 million (5th highest in the league) at last count. This means Wyc Grousbeck and company are anteing up close to 100 million dollars in players salaries, once you include the luxury tax dollar for dollar penalty. Thanks guys!

Fast forward to this trade rumor now. What would happen if the C’s would trade for Jamison and Butler? It might make a lot of sense for this year, but if The C’s take on both of their contracts, that is an additional 24 million dollars of salary for next year for just 2 players.

It doesn’t take a math major to put together the problem from there. Add that 24 million dollars to the 63 million the C’s would have already have committed and that would mean The Celtics would have 87 million dollars on payroll committed to just 8 guys for 2010-11. Grant it, it would be a quality 8 players, but that’s still a lot of dough tied up for a little more than half a roster.

So, let’s cut to the chase here. 87 million dollars is just too much for this team (or likely any team) in this economy. Say the luxury tax goes down to 65 million dollars, a conservative estimate based on earlier reports this season. An 87 million dollar payroll would mean a 22 million dollar luxury tax bill on top of all the salaries which means Wyc Grousbeck and company would be anteing up 109 million dollars a year for their roster. That’s a bigger bill than any team in the NBA is paying this year.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying Wyc Grousbeck and company are cheap. They are anything, but that, having the 5th highest payroll in the league this year at 84.7 million. Can we as fans though expect them to take on 5-10 extra million dollars in salary next year, in this economy, with the luxury tax going down as it is? The Celtics aren’t hurting financially by all accounts, but they aren’t the Yankees either. Expecting ownership to pay that much money next year to those 8 guys, along with an additional 5-10 million dollars at minimum that would be needed to fill out the rest of 15 man roster is just ridiculous. In this climate, it’s simply not economically sustainable.

A counter point to all this might be, well the Celtics can do some wheeling and dealing after this season ends to solve the payroll problem. Win now with Jamison and Butler and deal with lowering the payroll after the season is over. That makes sense on the surface. But who do you get rid of from that roster next year? Outside of KG, Pierce, and Jamison everyone else on that roster will be getting paid reasonable money next year. KG and Jamison would be very tough to deal and we all know Paul Pierce is not going anywhere. There are no easy solutions there.

So, based on all this, I believe Danny when he says he hasn’t talked to the Wiz about the proposed Ray Allen deal, for a very simple reason. Ownership can’t afford it to spend that much money on payroll. Now if Wyc and company want to dig extremely deep into their pockets, they can make it happen. And if they do, I’d be all for it, don’t get me wrong. It’s unreasonable for us Celtics fans though to expect that to happen.

For now, shake off this dream deal and look for Ainge to make a smaller scale team to help breath some life into this team right now.

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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • That was my initial reaction, but just because they start the season out with that much money on the books does not mean they can’t shed some of it in trades. Butler immediately becomes an asset next season as an expiring deal and Jamison’s $$ is not that unpalatable.

    If they can move sheed/davis to Charlotte at the same time, it actually could work nicely.

    I have a hard time with predicting the cap too, as right now Stern is only as powerful as LeBron’s apathy lets him be.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    I think there are a ton of brainy people on this site. I like to read other people’s trade suggestions. We’ve talked about big trades like Iggy & Martin. Has anyone got any smaller trades which have not been mentioned (especially for a back up point guard who can defend)?

    The espn trade machine is here


    It would be great if someone here came up with a trade which the Cs were going to make before it actually happened. Major braggin’ rights.

  • What if Paul restructures? Huh? Yeah? Maybe…no probably not. But for the sake of blatant homerism, what if Paul decides he’s happy with Hinrich money, and restrutures a deal for 9 mil a year for, say, three years. It would give the Celtics 12-13 million on top of the 15-20 million you mentioned to round out the roster. You could find 5 guys to split 27 million. I’m not saying it’ll happen, buttttt it could….

  • Tom

    LOL. Desperation. Boston SUCKS. Lottery team next year. ROFL. Suck it!!!!

  • Berkcelt

    I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that Paul restructures his deal so he can retire a Celtic. In fact, my hunch is that a restructuring will happen (although a lockout could really kill that idea but lets overlook that for now).

    The way I look at it is if he’s due $21M next year, how much is his next contract going to be worth? It seems unreasonable to expect more than a Rasheed-type MLE deal, especially if he wants to play on a contender. So that’s an additional 3 yrs and $19M or so. Make it an extension at an even 4 yrs and $40M, he isn’t necessarily losing any money it’s just spread out more evenly. That’d probably be like $10M less next year, so they could probably fill out the roster for about the same total incl. lux tax as this year. That doesn’t even count potential reductions in salary going forward if they do another trade (e.g. Sheed to Charlotte altho that’s just hypothetical–highly doubt Sheed in particular is going anywhere).

    If Wyc and co. don’t mind paying a similar budget for next year, I think it could happen, but being a contender is even more of an uncertainty next year, so who knows if they want to take that hit.

  • Jay P

    I really don’t see that happening, but you have to consider two things:

    1) Paul restructuring his deal basically sends the message that he wants Ray out. He’s basically saying he’ll take the hit to his wallet because he doesn’t think this team can win with Ray Allen, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get Butler/Jamison and get another championship. Doesn’t matter if that’s true or not (even if they got em, this teams got a lot of other issues to work out still) I don’t think it’s a message Paul will want to send, he and Ray are friends.

    2) It’s a different NBA now, you just don’t see that kinda thing happening. In 1991 after his dream team stint, Larry Bird decided to retire. He did so fully well knowing if he waited two weeks, his contract carrying through 1993 would kick in, giving him 5 million a year, all he had to do was wait two weeks and announce it. He said no, he didn’t want the money, wouldn’t do that to the team. Paul is one of the greatest Celtics ever, if he did this, he’d be right up there with Bird, I’ll make that clear. But Paul Pierce is not Larry Bird, don’t hold your breathe for it.

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  • Berkcelt

    Well, the way I look at it, the only way he’s really taking a hit to his wallet, is if there is a lockout that cuts into the season. I’m just speculating but given what Wyc has said in the past about Paul retiring a Celtic and his weird pronouncement about signing a max player this offseason, I think there’s a good chance they’ve already discussed this–not hard numbers or anything but the general idea. So I don’t think this is really Paul “making a statement” on Ray.

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  • Mitch

    tom is gonna be eating his words when we regroup and win the championship

  • CF

    Getting Jamison/Butler is of course going to incur more financial burden to Cs ownership… but what if they found a way to ship out Sheed (supposing the speculation that Brown wants him in Charlotte is warranted)? Also if there is some way we could get Haywood from the Wiz too, we’d have the best defensive 5s in the league by far.
    Obviously this is (probably) crazy but check this for the heck of it…


  • ‘1) Paul restructuring his deal basically sends the message that he wants Ray out. He’s basically saying he’ll take the hit to his wallet because he doesn’t think this team can win with Ray Allen, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get Butler/Jamison and get another championship. Doesn’t matter if that’s true or not (even if they got em, this teams got a lot of other issues to work out still) I don’t think it’s a message Paul will want to send, he and Ray are friends.’

    Jay P, I don’t really follow your logic here considering Pierce wouldn’t have to decline his player option until after Ray is gone and may do so whether Ray is here or not. A team with Rondo, Pierce, KG, Perk, Caron, Jamison, ‘Sheed, ‘Quis, TA, ‘Grown Man’ Glen (Ronnie) Davis, and House (with the Roster filled out). Will win a championship. You will have a starting 5 of Rondo (1), Pierce (2), Caron (3), KG (4), Perk (5). Your backup 5 is Quis (1), Eddie (2), TA (3), Jamison (4), Sheed (5). No one would have a better starting 5,or a better total 5 coming off the bench. If you really wanted you could then try to flip ‘Grown Man’ Glen (Ronnie) Davis for a true back-up point guard.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    CF, the thing I love about this site is seeing everybody participate & come up with their own trades. There may be some people who say your trade is wack or whatever, but I say everybody should take a whack at it & be creative. It is interesting to see all these different scenarios. It sounds like the Wiz are ready to do some major dumpage to look to the future. I think we could use some guys not playing & draft picks (cuz now is the time with this aging group) I wish we could pick up a few guys from them (the best 3pt shooter %wise in the league & a 7′ double double man). Anyways, we should have a contest for the most creative feasible trade with any team. Most likely the cellar teams would be the most willing to give up somebody good.

    I figure, thanks to Zach, Brendan, & Brian there are at least 10 million Celtic fans reading this blog. All we need to do is get everyone to pony up $5. Then, we can go out a get all kinds of peoples. We should be like the Green Bay Packers & have the fans invest in the team. Then, we could each take a turn sitting court side & point out to Doc when he needs to sub…….wouldn’t that be funny??? Maybe we could just stand up & go down the bench & grab their jersey & take them to the scorer’s table. We could also jump up & down & scream at them to stop throwing stupid passes & stay in front of their man. Now, all we need is a volunteer to collect all the money……

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