If Rasheed Wallace does end up retiring, it could really harm the Boston Celtics next year. (ESPN)
On the surface, it appears that if Wallace does decide to retire, the Celtics could negotiate a buyout of his contract, freeing up money for the team to spend elsewhere. The caveat: The team doesn’t get an extra mid-level exemption, and would likely need to use this year’s MLE simply to replace Wallace.
With Kendrick Perkins potentially sidelined for the start of the season as he will need surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his right knee, the Celtics could be in desperate need of front-court help.
If Sheed retires and Paul Pierce doesn’t opt out of his contract, the Celtics would still have no cap space for next year. As such, they’ll only be able to use veteran’s minimum contracts and the mid-level exception to sign players for whom they do not have “Bird rights.” (Ray Allen and Tony Allen have Bird Rights, and I believe the Celtics are free to re-sign them for any amount of money, regardless of whether the contracts take the C’s over the salary cap.)
If the C’s are forced to use the mid-level to replace Sheed, that leaves them with only veteran minimum contracts to offer any other free agents. On the other hand, if Sheed retires and the C’s DON’T replace him with a mid-level player, they will be forced to replace him using only the veteran’s minimum as bait. For perspective, the Celtics used the veteran’s minimum to sign Shelden Williams last summer.
Sheed’s potential retirement could thus affect the Celtics far more than merely losing his playoff prowess.