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One on One: Celtics Piece

One on One is the premier basketball mag in Australia.

They had an interesting Celtics piece, here it is.

Despite a US$50 million contract and more titles than a book store, Rick
Pitino acknowledged that NBA inflation has eroded his power. The rock
now rests in the hands of an owner who reportedly wouldn't mind skipping
a season if it helps bring sanity to the league's revenue pie chart.

Pitino, the Celtics` president and head coach and largest cheese said
that there are some issues that are now beyond his control.

Owner, Paul Gaston will have to make the final call on Antoine Walker's
next contract (he still has one year left on the current pact), assuming
the new collective bargaining agreement resembles the present one to any
degree. And that is not what Pitino expected when he took over control
of the Celtics' basketball operation a little more than a year ago to
the day.

"I have totoal decision-making power - except with a contract that goes
US$14 millon (average per year)." Pitino said.

"Now, why did I go US$14 million? Well, just a year ago when we
negotiated my contract, I said, "It'll never get to that amount." So I
gook this crazy number out, knowing a salary will never get to that
number in my lifespan as a coach.

"Now, one year later - less than one year - it got there," he added with
a laugh of irony. "So over that amount, Paul is going to have to come to
grips with whether or not the Celtics can spedn that type of money. I
will certainly counsel him on that. I will certainly be part of the
decision. But he's the head of a major organisation and it's not my

Considering the market place, can Gaston and the Celts afford NOT to
spend that type of money if they wish to be competitive?

"That's up to Paul." Pitino said. "I think he's a wise businessman. One
of Paul's biggest concerns is not so much the money. It's that he
doesn't want a caste system.

"He does't want one guy making all the money and the rest of the players
making nothing. He doesn't think that's healthy for a team. That's his
biggest problem with all of that. He's very concerned about that."

To that end, word from the league is that Gaston now has allies in his
miliant stance against the salary madness. And if it takes missing the
first games in NBA history because of a labour situation, then so be it.