Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports had a single line in his Friday night column suggesting the Celtics may have some heady competition for Kendrick Perkins’ services after the season:
One league source said the Miami Heat are expected to make a run at Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins after he becomes a free agent this summer, even though the Heat will be limited with what they can offer.
This isn’t backboard-shattering news by any means. The Heat were destined to operate through the 2010-11 season with thin support for their top three guys until they could get through to the summer of 2011, where they’ll have renewed salary exceptions to use (maybe) and a fresh pool of available free agents to draw from (definitely).
With Chris Bosh locked in as their power forward, a dirty-work-doin’ center like Perkins makes perfect sense for the Heat. He would add a nasty edge to the Miami frontcourt, give them a strong post defender, a quality rebounder and someone to set bone-crushing picks to free up Lebron James and Dwayne Wade on the perimeter. And of course, Pat Riley could make a tempting offer to Perkins based on location (warm south-Florida locale) and approach (Miami’s championship-or-bust mentality).
That all has to be appealing, especially for a guy who has yet to be wooed on the free agent market. Perk may want to go through that process.
But there are some complicating factors for Miami. And, truth be told, for Boston.
After the jump, we’ll dig into them.
Under the current CBA, the most the Heat could offer Perkins is probably the Mid-Level Exception ($5.765M in 2010-11), which, all by itself, might be a deal-breaker. Perk’s open-market value surely exceeds that figure, possibly ranging into
the (guessing here) $8-9M per year range. Of course, by the time Miami can make an offer of any kind, the MLE may no longer exist as the NBA will be operating under a new CBA. Which could limit the Heat’s offer to even less than that figure and effectively rule them out of the Perkins Sweepstakes.
There are considerations for Boston as well. Assuming he continues to play as well as he has, and there are no Leon Powe-style setbacks from his knee injury, it’s a no-brainer to resign Perkins from a basketball standpoint. We don’t need to go into all the reasons why. You know them.
However, Danny Ainge has held a hard-line on contracts extending past 2012 (only Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce are signed beyond next season), which gives him cap flexibility heading into a period when he might add a second young star to compliment Rondo and keep the Celtics in title contention for the next half-decade. To re-up Perk this summer will surely require a deal that goes beyond that time-frame.
But my suspicion is that Ainge would bite the bullet and pay to retain Perk, even if it means sacrificing some cap flexibility. Players like Perk are extremely tough to find and very easy to trade if the C’s need the salary room to bring in another star.
Which brings us to Glen Davis.
Davis will be looking for a multi-year deal this offseason. He fancies himself a starter in the league, and even if other teams don’t, he’s probably going to have multiple suitors, which will drive up his price and the length of his contract.
Right now, absent some sort of CBA wackiness, it seems very unlikely the C’s will retain both Perkins and Davis.
Which means Miami might have to settle for a Big Baby instead of a Beast.