Professional sports is a show of millionaire athletes who normally care very little for what they do. However, seeing certain Boston athletes in recent years take pay cuts, or take not as much money to stay with a winning team, has been a unique experience. It's not just that the Celtics, Red Sox, and Patriots have enjoyed winning titles, it's the way in which it has been done; strong, closely-knit organizations winning in the best way possible: with teamwork, and with guys who want to be here and care about the fans & the experience of playing in Boston.
Here are some examples:
- Randy Moss (NEP) took far less money than he could have made in the open market, despite a heartbreaking Super Bowl loss, to stick with the team for a few more years. Keep in mind this player was known as being extremely seflish and unlikeable before he was signed to New England, and he took far less money than he could have made elsewhere just to come here. And what did he do, but break the touchdown reception record in 2007?
- Mike Lowell (Sox), after winning a World Series with the team in 2007 and entering free-agent status, took a bit less and accepted a lower contract to stay with the team for a few more years instead of bailing with his ring and taking more money to play elsewhere.
- Tom Brady (NEP) signed a five-year, $60million or so deal to stick w/ the Patriots; the guy is the ultimate competitor and the only player who comes close to him in terms of talent & ability is Peyton Manning - who signed a $100million deal a year or two beforehand.
- Paul Pierce (Celtics) has struggled his entire career for reasons to stick around (beyond money); came in wide-eyed and full of expectations in 1998 about the future of the Celtics. After years of futility and a few regime changes, he was finally ready to bolt town last year after one of the worst Celtics seasons in history & no hope on the horizon (see NBA Draft Lottery June 2007 for details). Once the Celtics signed Kevin Garnett in the offseason, he got his chance to shine, and he did - all of last season and through the playoffs, bum knee and all in the Finals.
And now we get to James Posey. The general consensus is that he's not worth the $25million contract he just signed with New Orleans. It would have been one thing had the Red Sox, for example, thrown a ridiculous amount of money at Mike Lowell just to make him stick around. They didn't; they offered him what they felt was market value, and it surprised a lot of people when Lowell took the deal. The Celtics would have had to overpay by at least $10million to keep Posey around and they didn't - so good for them; they now have more money to go out and sign other players. Sure, Posey was an important role player, but $25million for that? No, thank you - and thanks to Danny Ainge (if he even had the cap room to sign Posey in the first place), we'll hopefully be able to focus on other players who will help us out just as much, if not more, than Posey.
Edit 7/22/2008: And to prove the point, the Celtics re-signed Eddie House & Tony Allen for two -year deals.