The Celtics had until Sunday at midnight to make a decision on Paul Pierce’s contract, and an NBA source said the club will honor the final year of his deal at $15.3 million to facilitate the blockbuster deal with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Celtics are expected to send Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to the Nets for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph, first-round picks in 2014, 2016, and 2018, and the right to swap first-round picks in 2017.
While the Celtics may have considered buying out Pierce’s contract at $5 million if not for the trade, they will guarantee the deal and send that contract to the Nets. The Nets also guaranteed the final year of Garnett’s deal in 2014-15, which was partially guaranteed when he signed the deal with the Celtics last summer.
The transaction won’t be official until July 12, the first day Joseph is eligible to be traded. So the Celtics won’t be able to comment on the deal despite free agency beginning Sunday at midnight. It is uncertain whether the club will be active. At the very least, the Celtics will have the mini mid-level spot to offer at $3 million per season.
The Celtics announced Sunday that they’ve waived swingman Terrence Williams.
The timing of the move was no accident: the 26-year-old Williams had a nonguaranteed contract for 2013-14 worth about $950,000, but $200,000 of it was set to be guaranteed after Sunday.
By cutting Williams, the Celtics created some salary-cap space while also opening a roster spot.
In February, after playing in China, the 6-foot-6-inch Williams joined the injury-ravaged Celtics, his fourth NBA team since being drafted in 2009. The Louisville product was seen as a backup point guard who could help fill in with Rajon Rondo out for the season with a knee injury.
Williams played sparingly in 24 regular-season games, averaging 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes per game. Williams also played in five playoff games, averaging 1.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 9.6 minutes per game.
Williams was arrested in May in Kent, Wash., after the mother of his 10-year-old son said Williams threatened her with a gun. Williams was investigated for second-degree domestic assault, but prosecutors decided to delay bringing charges as they continued to investigate the incident, which occurred in a parking lot during a custody exchange between Williams and the woman.
Last week, a King County prosecutor’s office spokesman said the case was still being investigated and that there was no timetable for a possible resolution.
If convicted, Williams faces possible jail time.