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Middle ground on Antoine

From: Bruce Allen <ballen007@yahoo.com>

>Antoine will be worth every penny that he gets. No one else in the
>league can do some of the things he can do. He has an ALL-AROUND 
>game. Yeah, he needs improvement on shot selection. HE's 21 YEARS >OLD. 
>He will improve. He will mature.

	Tim Duncan can do everything Antoine can do plus hit half of his
shots and block shots as well.  You can't have it both ways.  You're
assuming that he will mature after signing a $100,000,000 contract, which
he'll get for showing very little maturity???  And let's not forgot one
thing, we're talking about guaranteed money that has to be paid no matter
what.  Whether he matures or not, he gets the money.

	I wouldn't trust anyone with that kind of money including myself.
If I were Antoine with that contract in my back pocket, I wouldn't have to
deal with Coach Pitino.  Whenever he yells at me in practice, I'll just
block him out.  I'll still play hard in games and say all the right things
to the press, but why bother working hard in practice?  The money is
guaranteed; I don't have to earn it.

	Back to being me.  Let's assume that the new CBA will be exactly
the same as it is now, for the sake of argument.  The Celtics should offer
Antoine an "insulting" offer of $60,000,000 over six years.  Let him turn
it down if he wants to.  He may just surprise us all and take it to avoid
being traded to a bad team.  If he rejects the offer, keep him.  Yes we
risk losing him to free agency, but that isn't by any means automatic.

	Look at Joe Smith and Jerry Stackhouse.  They both turned downed
big contract offers and will likely pay the price for it.  And what about
Kevin Garnett?  His situation last year is very similar to Antoine's this
year.  He made the all-star team in his second season and seemed to be on
his way to being a first team all NBA player.  If Minnesota didn't sign
him last year and he were a free agent now, who would offer him a contract
like the one he got?  Phoenix and Chicago are the only teams with the
resources and potential cap space to do it, but both have good reasons not

	Ideally the new CBA will push free agency back from three years to
five years, but even if it doesn't we still have every advantage in
resigning Antoine when he becomes a free agent.  The important thing is
for Pitino to communicate to Antoine how much he loves him and that he'll
get his market value when it is actually established.