Did anyone in the Boston Media see this coming? Check out the following exerpt from a newsletter Bill Simmons sent out on August 2nd:
“As for what happened this summer, it took me a few weeks to figure out the Baker trade (I wrote a column about it 2 weeks ago), but it finally makes sense: I think Paul Gaston is positioning himself to sell the team. Here’s the evidence:
They wouldn’t re-sign Rodney Rogers because of “luxury tax” concerns. But here’s the thing. Let’s say they re-signed Rogers for 4 years, $11 million. Seems fair. That would give them about a $16 million luxury tax hit this season (I’m guessing). Throw in Kenny Anderson’s contract (one year left at $9.3 million) and Vitaly Potapenko’s deal (3 years left at $17 million) and the total committment for the next four years with those four things – Rogers, the one-year tax hit, Kenny and Vitaly – comes to around $52 million.
Well guess what? Vin Baker makes $56.3 million over the next four seasons. So even if you’re taking a one-year hit, it’s still not as bad over four years as Baker’s contract.
Now consider these things:
–1. They weakened themselves at point guard next year (an understatement).
–2. They have no cap flexibility whatsoever for the next four years because of Baker, Pierce, Walker and Battie. Basically, this is their team, for better or worse, barring some bargain basement shopping (like Erick Strickland last year).
–3. If Baker bombs here the way he did in Seattle, he’s completely untradeable and the four crucial years of “Antoine and Pierce in their primes” will have been wasted. if this was a poker game, they pushed all their chips in the middle. Do you ever do that unless you have a can’t-miss hand? Of course not. And yet they did.
–4. After this season, the contracts of Pierce, Walker and Baker all jump by 12.5%. You think this team had trouble getting under the tax this season? What about next year? Why would Gaston care so much about
this year’s tax and seem totally oblivious to D-Day next season?
–1. They just hiked ticket prices.
–2. They just signed a new deal with Fox Sports Net.
–3. They have what amounts to being a “fixed salary structure” for the next few years.
Is it starting to add up for you? Gaston is a smart guy… I don’t think he ever enjoyed owning the team all that much (he lives in Greenwich and attends 3-4 games a year), and he saw what happened when the Red Sox
went up for sale. If he ever wanted to sell the team, now’s the perfect time, especially now that the team is good again.
So here’s my prediction: Some time over the next few months, Gaston will put the team up for sale. Mark my words.”