I guess the +Washington Wizards will be getting star player +Paul Pierce. Sources close to the process told ESPN.com on Saturday that Pierce has committed to sign a two-year, $11 million deal with the Wizards, who moved swiftly to find a title-tested replacement for Trevor Ariza after Ariza struck an agreement earlier in the day to join the Houston Rockets.
The contract, sources said, has a player option after this season that will allow Pierce, 36, to return to free agency next summer if he chooses. The short-term nature of the deal, meanwhile, could help Washington preserve some flexibility for its dream scenario of pursuing DC native Kevin Durant when the current Oklahoma City Thunder star is scheduled to be a free agent in the summer of 2016.
The Nets gave up a slew of first-round picks to acquire Pierce and Kevin Garnett from the Boston Celtics in July 2013, but now Pierce and coach Jason Kidd are gone in Brooklyn. That will raise questions about the future of Garnett, whom the Nets expected to return next season at age 38 but who now has lost the two people in the organization to whom he’s closest.
Pierce, an unrestricted free agent, also drew interest from the Dallas Mavericks, Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers — among other teams — before deciding to join the up-and-coming Wizards. He averaged 13.5 points in 28.0 minutes per game last season, while posting a Player Efficiency Rating of 16.8. All three totals were career-lows.