Nets lose Paul Pierce to two-year deal with Wizards
Paul Pierce is taking a gamble on joining a franchise on the rise.
The former Nets forward, who spent last week competing in the World Series of Poker, has reportedly agreed to a two-year, $11 million deal with the Wizards. The deal includes a player option on the second season.
Pierce was traded to Brooklyn on draft night in 2013, along with fellow Celtics Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and three first-round draft picks (2014, 2016 and 2018).
The deal wasn’t exactly a winner for the Nets. Pierce averaged a career-low 13.5 points per game in 28 minutes per game. His 4.6 rebounds per game were second-lowest of his career.
He spent the first 15 years of his career with the Celtics.
The 36-year-old free agent will join a Washington on the rise — as opposed to a Nets team in limbo. The Wizards were 44-38 last season as they finished fifth in the Eastern Conference. It was the first time they finished over .500 or made the playoffs since 2007-08. They routed the Bulls, 4-1, in the opening round of the playoffs before running into top-seeded Indiana. They beat the Pacers in the first game of the series on the road, but then lost three straight and were eliminated in Game 6.
The departure of Pierce doesn’t do much to help the Nets’ salary cap issue. They still have $87.66 million in salary tied up for next season — $10 million over the luxury tax threshold. The team will not be able to sign any players other than for the minimum or midlevel exception. They are expected to sign European forward Bojan Bogdanovic with that MLE.
Pierce joins rising stars point guard John Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal. The team also re-signed center Marcin Gortat earlier this offseason.
Pierce will probably slip into the starting small forward role as free agent Trevor Ariza appears unlikely to return.
The 10-time All-Star tweeted about joining the Wizards, and Wall, early Sunday morning.
Obama , J Wall here I come
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) July 13, 2014
Wall greeted his new teammate as well.
— John Wall (@John_Wall) July 13, 2014
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.