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Sunday, July 4th, 2010 at 9:37 am  |  39 responses

Dirk, Pierce Take (Unwise?) Paycuts

by Ryne Nelson

Now here’s something most star players haven’t considered this offseason.

Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce both verbally agreed yesterday to take less money to give their teams extra financial wiggle-room.

Nowitzki verbally agreed to a four-year contract, paying him a guaranteed $80 million. Dirk was eligible to make $96 million, but took less. Pierce’s new contract with the Celtics is a four-year deal worth $61 million. This is a solid deal for the Celtics — $15 million per year is well below the max.

Was it smart for the two aging stars to sacrifice cash to help their franchise?

The Mavs have pieces to make attractive sign-and-trade deals, but Dirk could ultimately be getting less money to continue to be ringless. Marc Stein remains optimistic:

So Nowitzki responded by potentially saving his boss $32 million if the Mavericks continue to be a luxury-tax payer for the next four seasons — or even more if the next collective bargaining agreement, as some teams fear, comes with a tiered tax system that penalizes teams on a rising scale depending on how far they are past the tax line.

The Mavericks, though, remain well over the salary cap, restricting them to complicated sign-and-trade bids for top free agents such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh. All Cuban could promise Nowitzki is that the financial relief he’s providing will make it easier for Dallas to keep trying to swing a landscape-changing trade.

Although Pierce may no longer be a max player, his new contract won’t put the Cs under the cap next season, as re-signing Ray Allen remains a priority.

But, like the Mavs, the Celtics may now feel comfortable to consider trade options (the Boston Herald reports Leandro Barbosa, Rudy Fernandez are on the C’s radar). In short, if the Cs dance around the cap well enough, the team can make some moves. Also from the Herald:

Using the $15 million-plus figure, Pierce will cost the club some $6 million less this coming season. And when you figure in the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax, it would end up being a savings of around $12 million for 2010-11.

That does not – repeat, does not – mean the Celtics have that much to spend on a premium free agent. But it does mean the team is better equipped to take on difficult contracts if it can find an attractive trade. That’s in addition to signing a free agent with the mid-level exception.

At 32 years old, Pierce and Dirk are aging well and still have plenty of gas in the tank. But have they sacrificed their last chance at max (or near max) money to aid a cause that, as some argue, ended years ago?

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  • http://www.nba.com/sun Dacre

    You might want to argue that if Bosh, LeBron, Wade, Boozer, Amar’e managed to get onto the same team or combinations of these players got onto the same team ANY other teams chances of getting to the finals is reduced. BUT well stacked teams have a history of getting trumped in early rounds. I like the ‘principle’ of what these two guys are trying to do for their ball clubs and it does move you to like them a little more as sports stars leading by example.

  • Nick the Quick

    When Danny Ainge made this offer to PP, he immediately fell to the floor, writhing in great agony and had to be carried to the locker room. He returned 30 min later, walking gingerly and claimed that someone had hacked his Tweeter account and posted ” C’Mon son! Show me the money!”

  • coconut

    couldn’t help thinking: “pretty gay picture” :p

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Both these players have played only for these organizations and their gestures to take less money are grand ones. Not every player cares soley about the money as you imply. Taking less is better now and for the future. Do you honestly believe that paying Joe Johnson $119 mil wont hurt the Hawks in the long run? Or if the Knicks pay Amare $100 mil he will suddenly become less lazy? Pierce and Nowitzki know what it takes to help improve their teams, and they have done just that.

  • BostonBaller

    Wow, even when players sacrifice some ppl still have to hit ‘em hard. lol. Say what you want about PDouble but he has been “loyal” for a long time and this latest pay cut just proves it even more. Even if he didn’t take a pay cut (you guys would have killed him here) I would have said he had been loyal for years. He stayed when the bottom dropped out when he could have left. He (along w/ RA & KG) sacrificed numbers to get that elusive ring. You can ridicule him about the wheelchair (trainers call) you can claim flopping (part of selling call AFTER actual foul most of the time) not the phantom gun shot flop move by some players. You can say he is over weight (really?) I suggest we all look in the mirror 1st. He still gets it done. You can harp on age but he is still schooling cats and actually plays better D on good players than some of the “defensive minded” players in the L. You can spew out a bout load of negatives and then get pissed even more as your team loses and he has another chance at a Duck Boat ride holding the chip… I’m just saying that you should hate the game not the player in this case. lol. What do I know, my glasses are shaded in GREEN and there is a GREEN mist blowing over the city right now from what I hear from my vacation spot. Have fun with the darts folks…..

  • http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com Chris Yeh

    Given their ages, I’m not sure any other teams would have been willing to offer Pierce and Dirk max contracts.

  • knock kock

    Paul Pierce lower’s his asking price to 5/7 of the max for four years and he’s considered sacrificing cash? He’s already slow as molasses, and falls every time someone runs into him. This still doesn’t help the celtics that much in signing up free agents that will vastly improve the team. Nice try though.

  • http://twitter.com/HarryByrdMan44 LA Huey

    Imma co-sign LDR4 & BostonBaller here. This was a stupid article. I can’t believe someone would call out All-Stars for opting-out of their current contracts and resigning for less than they could have got for the team’s benefit.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Klav

    If LeBron really wants to win, wouldn’t he sacrifice part of his salary to make flexibility for his team to help win a chip? oh thts right, he’s not nearly humble enough to do that, because being a billionaire is more important to him. I have never seen anybody so full of themself. seriously, idc what he does, I’m with Kobe…I don’t give a fck. Lakers are looking at being favorites because of their team as well as their chemistry and experience. if Boston and Orlando can stay in tact, they’re probably looking to do the same thing while teams like Chi and Mil lookin to move up. Even though I’m a Lakers fan, I KNOW Kobe wouldn’t be willin to take a paycut during his prime, but he is willing to sacrifice some pay so that Pau could be the 2nd banana and get a supporting cast together. No other player in NBA history has an automatic orgasm while looking at themselves in the mirror like LeBron. I hope he never wins a championship because although he is a phenomenal talent, in 7 years he hasn’t shown what it takes to reach that next echelon of greatness. he’s not a winner, he’s an entrepreneur…REMEMBER the difference.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Klav

    If LeBron really wants to win, wouldn’t he sacrifice part of his salary to make flexibility for his team to help win a chip? oh thts right, he’s not nearly humble enough to do that, because being a billionaire is more important to him. I have never seen anybody so full of themself. seriously, idc what he does, I’m with Kobe…I don’t give a fck. Lakers are looking at being favorites because of their team as well as their chemistry and experience. if Boston and Orlando can stay in tact, they’re probably looking to do the same thing while teams like Chi and Mil lookin to move up. Even though I’m a Lakers fan, I KNOW Kobe wouldn’t be willin to take a paycut during his prime, but he is willing to sacrifice some pay so that Pau could be the 2nd banana and get a supporting cast together. No other player in NBA history has an automatic orgasm while looking at themselves in the mirror like LeBron. I hope he never wins a championship because although he is a phenomenal talent, in 7 years he hasn’t shown what it takes to reach that next echelon of greatness. he’s not a winner, he’s an entrepreneur…REMEMBER the difference.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Klav

    Another man to sacrifice his “due” to “get it done”…Timmy D, which is also the reason he’s considered the best PF, because he’s a winner and he had a direct impact with that when he was humble enough to take a paycut (in a small market), and he has 4 chips. The hardware and legacy speak for itself.

  • barnabusb

    When you’re a bazillionaire athlete, what’s $15 million? That’s nothing. Those dudes should be set for life.

  • http://screwjams.tumblr.com cramzy

    The years on the deal are key. These guys are getting up there,so who’s to say the year after next they’ll be able to command contracts at the rate they just signed for, let alone the max. They been getting nba money for 10 + years. I’m sure they’re fine with 15 to 20 millie a year and an opportunity to keep their teams in contention.

  • jedi420

    C’mon, like any of these free agents ‘need’ an extra 15-20 million on their contracts. The reality is that any of them could take less money to be on a better team and be in a better situation, all the while still securing their families financial security for generations if they invest and spend wisely..

  • notblack

    Pay close attention to the photo and LMFAO[:

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ^ That is juvenile, but seriously, LMAO.

  • T-Money

    Klav: I’m not sure I get your point. Did Kobe sacrifice anything to make the Lakers better? I think he’s as maxed out as you can be, no?

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/42594-hoops4life Overtime

    co-sign Klav

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Negetivekreep

    Co-sign T-money. In the past Kobe gawked at the idea of taking a pay cut to help the team. Saying it was up to the front office to figure those things out. But his best shot at another 3peat, is going to mean D Fish doing just that. I’m hoping to see Shannon back as well, but at his age, I see him going for the money now that he has a few rings. And Pdub gets a few more years of job security out of his new deal, but beyond that this benefits the C’s in the years to come as well. Something I see Kobe needing to do in the future, once Phil & Fish are retired, and the team will need to bring in vets, but I won’t hold my breath.

  • Ronald

    I think it really depends when you get take that paycut. Tim D took a paycut when he was in his prime after a tour of the NBA where I’m sure he had a few max offers. The fact that PP took a paycut when he is past his prime and doesn’t put the C’s under the tax doesn’t mean anything. Maybe the C’s didn’t offer him the max and he realized that he wouldn’t get anything more anywhere else.

  • Ronald

    But I you can’t be mad at players for asking as much as they can. Players get blamed for taking too much money and not winning but if a team is over the cap with no talent all fingers should be directed at the front office.

  • BostonBaller

    Again, owners get richer daily so why not the players too? What’s $15 or $20 Mil? Ask Pippen and other players who earned millions and are near broke now….I’m not feeling sorry for them I’m just saying it happens. (Totally random: I asked on another post for those who keep bashing PDouble and The C’s who their fav player and or team was and I didn’t get a response. lol PS Timmy D can not be put in any of this b/c he is of a different breed.

  • nastierthanu

    I’d take the 15 million extra in my contract financial back trustworthy folks in every city I travel to that has a soup kitchen and I would feed anyone who is hungry. Put feelers out and supply funds to quality educators and mental health professionals that are keepin kids off the street and in programs modifying behavioral difficulties. Open facilities to have parents who are children themselves speaking to clinicians to change the negative reinforcement techniques that their parents raised them with. What’s 15 million to these guys. Could mean so much if they used it right.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Negetivekreep

    BostonBaller: According to David Stern, (not me) it’s not the majority of owners, who are getting rich. It’s the minority, meanwhile middle of the pack players are getting similar contracts to the super star elite. And smaller franchises (unless they have a great gm) are Many times stuck as “Farms” to supply the larger markets with talent durring free agency. Who’s to blame for Creating this climate? It’s hard to put the blame directly on one side. You can’t argue with a guy taking as much money as he can get. But I hope they can find a way to even the scales.

  • Dillan

    Well done Dirk and Paul. Shows that one can take less money.

  • JoeMaMa

    A few things. 1) Paul Pierce is tougher than you. He was stabbed about 12 times and played a few weeks later. You haven’t done that, but if you have, you still haven’t won an NBA championship. 2) It doesn’t matter if you make $20 or $20,000,000….if you’re bad with money, you’ll lose it (examples aplenty). And if you’re good with money, you’ll make more, through business dealings, sounds investments, etc. (Shaq, Dave Bing, Magic Johnson, MJ, etc.)

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    I enjoyed reading BostonBaller’s outstanding comment. Get this, I also see a GREEN mist here in NY as well. It must be that time of year, and it’s such a nice sunny day today.

  • BostonBaller

    LOL w/ IAMORANGE4EVER. co-sign JoeMaMa. I agree with you Negativekreep. Nastierthanu: That is sooo true and there are those of us who would do that and actually do things like that on a smaller scale though. lol. There are plenty of players who give back and do all of the things you mentioned. (away from the lime light).

  • Jake

    I don’t know why Dallas and Boston are throwing their money away like that.Mavs should have run after Bosh and the Celtics should have let PP go ring hunting for the last few years of his career. There is no way either of them can lead their teams to a championship anymore.Actually now that I think of it,neither of them could in the first place.The Mavs should have made a run at Bosh and Rudy Gay,or some other combo that would have pushed them over the top.

  • JTaylor21

    Klav do you even know what ur talking about. You kobe slurpers just say anything to gas the man up without knowning or stating the facts. The man has never taken a pay cut get that straight. The lakers got gasol by strong-arming him from memphis, thats why they have the highest payroll in the L. Kobe is the highest paid player in the league. You guys have an over inflated view of this mans greatness. He was carried to a chip by his teammates, name another star like bron, wade, even dirk who can go 6-24 in a crucial game 7 against the celts and his team still wins. Not one of them. There’s a difference between being the best player (lebron) in the L and being the best player on the best team (kobe).

  • JTaylor21

    Derrick freaking fisher has even hit more clutch shots in the playoffs than the so called best closer. Kobe has to be the most fortunate superstar in league history. First he pouts and moans then is traded to LA, then shaq arrives and carries him to 3 chips. Shaq avg. 34ppg, 14rpg during those finals run, so he was doing the most lifting. The lakers would have won the rings with t-mac even ray allen. Then shaq leaves because kobe thinks he can carry a team by himself, what happens. the lakers struggled to stay above .500. Then he pouts some more and gets gasol and the magically make the finals in all the years gasol been there. Gasol not kobe is the main reason they have won 2 chips. If kobe had stayed with the team that originally drafted him, he would’ve been another t-mac maybe even worse.

  • JTaylor21

    Derrick freaking fisher has even hit more clutch shots in the playoffs than the so called best closer. Kobe has to be the most fortunate superstar in league history. First he pouts and moans then is traded to LA, then shaq arrives and carries him to 3 chips. Shaq avg. 34ppg, 14rpg during those finals run, so he was doing the most lifting. The lakers would have won the rings with t-mac even ray allen. Then shaq leaves because kobe thinks he can carry a team by himself, what happens. the lakers struggled to stay above .500. Then he pouts some more and gets gasol and the magically make the finals in all the years gasol been there. Gasol not kobe is the main reason they have won 2 chips. If kobe had stayed with the team that originally drafted him, he would’ve been another t-mac maybe even worse.

  • JTaylor21

    Derrick freaking fisher has even hit more clutch shots in the playoffs than the so called best closer. Kobe has to be the most fortunate superstar in league history. First he pouts and moans then is traded to LA, then shaq arrives and carries him to 3 chips. Shaq avg. 34ppg, 14rpg during those finals run, so he was doing the most lifting. The lakers would have won the rings with t-mac even ray allen. Then shaq leaves because kobe thinks he can carry a team by himself, what happens. the lakers struggled to stay above .500. Then he pouts some more and gets gasol and the magically make the finals in all the years gasol been there. Gasol not kobe is the main reason they have won 2 chips. If kobe had stayed with the team that originally drafted him, he would’ve been another t-mac maybe even worse.

  • JTaylor21

    Derrick freaking fisher has even hit more clutch shots in the playoffs than the so called best closer. Kobe has to be the most fortunate superstar in league history. First he pouts and moans then is traded to LA, then shaq arrives and carries him to 3 chips. Shaq avg. 34ppg, 14rpg during those finals run, so he was doing the most lifting. The lakers would have won the rings with t-mac even ray allen. Then shaq leaves because kobe thinks he can carry a team by himself, what happens. the lakers struggled to stay above .500. Then he pouts some more and gets gasol and the magically make the finals in all the years gasol been there. Gasol not kobe is the main reason they have won 2 chips. If kobe had stayed with the team that originally drafted him, he would’ve been another t-mac maybe even worse.

  • Joe KIng

    @coconut wow i didnt even realize hahahahahha

  • mack

    I don’t understand why more people don’t take these small but important paycuts, especially with the salary cap supposedly getting tigher and the supposedly impending “lockout.” The more money saved, the more likely you are to be able to sign good players; doesn’t that make sense??

  • http://www.nba.com/sun Dacre

    @At Mack. It’s a great point. See – With every max contract signed, the president of the players union has more fire power to show david stern that team owners have no reason to force a lock out against the playrs with the impending CBA discussions after this season. It all comes down to team owners on the one hand saying their businesses (the NBA teams) don’t make any money and need to re-design the payment contracts and yet here they are thowing massive contracts at every and any player that could wear their jersey this season?! It’s all politics.

  • The Philosopher

    Shout out to the Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity.

  • http://250aspirin.blogspot.com DJ Leon Smith

    Their new deals were more about (a) getting more years and signing a new contract before the new CBA comes in and (b) helping their team out. I don’t see how anyone could spin this in a negative way.

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