Joel Anthony unsure whether he'll use his player option and return to the Celtics in 2014-15

If you're like me, you sometimes forget that Joel Anthony is on the Celtics. He rarely plays (81 total minutes despite being on the roster for 36 games), and flies well under the radar when he does enter the game.

But Anthony is very much a part of the Celtics, especially when you stop and consider his salary. The 31-year-old Anthony made $3.8 million this season, and if he so chooses he can utilize his player option and make the exact same amount in 2014-15, the final year of the 5-year, $18.5 million deal he signed with the Heat back in 2010.

Considering his lack of productivity, it would seem to be a forgone conclusion that Anthony would take the money and run. He turns 32 in August and his best case scenario is likely a deal for the veterans minimum of $1.23 million should he decide to leave Boston and hit free agency.

But according to Anthony, while he likes Boston, he's not quite sure whether or not he'll be back. From the Globe.

Celtics center Joel Anthony has a $3.8 million player option this summer that he is expected to exercise, but he told the Globe he was unsure of his decision. “When the season’s over, I’ll talk with my agent and look to see what we’re going to do,” he said.


“The team, obviously we haven’t had the success that we wanted on the court but off the court it’s been a great situation,” Anthony said. “You don’t always have that when teams are in this type of situation. That’s made it a lot easier being in a good locker room with a good group of guys.”

For Anthony, whether or not to opt-out basically comes down to winning/controlling his destiny vs money. If he stays, he'll make triple the dough, and move his career earnings from $16.4 up to $20.2 million. But he'll either be stapled to the bench on an average to below average team in Boston, or be used as a salary equalizer in a summer blockbuster. He'll have no control over where he plays, and will very likely be the 13th/14th/15th man.

If he leaves, he loses money (probably about $2.5 million if he can in fact get a minimum deal somewhere, which I imagine he could), but gains some power. He could sign with a title contender and chase a third ring, possibly even returning to Miami (have I mentioned that the Heat had a Joel Anthony montage when he returned with the Celtics? I mean I know the Celtics had an Eddie House montage..but c'mon).

As for the Celtics, obviously the fans and team alike would like the additional financial flexibility that Anthony's departure would create, but if he leaves the team suddenly loses $3.8 in expiring money. Potentially making any blockbuster deal (or even multiple deals) more difficult. At the moment Boston has $20.4 in expiring /non-gauranteed deals, setting themselves up to be able to get involved with multiple big contract players if they so choose. Anthony's departure would lower that to $16.6, still a good number, but it could make pulling off some deals more difficult. Then again, there's no denying that having nearly $4 million in extra cap space lying around could help Danny Ainge get creative in other ways this summer.

But in all honesty -- this is probably a moot point. Anthony will likely take the money, just like you or I would do. He's not a guy who will make $100 million in his career, and the difference between having made $16.4 million and $20.2 million is pretty large when you consider that about half that money is going to the government and his agent.

So expect Joel to either be sitting at the end of the bench, or used in some kind of summer deal after he utilizes that option. But it was nice of him to give us all a little bit of false hope that the Cs would suddenly have more cap space this summer.

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