Paul Pierce Signs With Wizards

July 17 at 2:40pm CDT By Cray Allred

JULY 17TH: The deal is official, the team announced.

“We are very happy to welcome Paul to our organization and add his championship experience and history of clutch play to our team,” Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld said. “He will be a good fit alongside our young, dynamic backcourt while his presence and leadership will make a difference for us both on and off the court.”

NBA: Playoffs-Brooklyn Nets at Miami HeatJULY 12TH: Paul Pierce has agreed to sign a two-year contract worth roughly $11MM with the Wizards, in a move first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The second year is a player option, reports Sam Amick of USA Today (via Twitter). Washington will use the full midlevel exception to sign Pierce, per a tweet from Zach Lowe of Grantland. If the star receives the maximum allowable 4.5% raise in the second year, he would be paid $5,305,000 in 2014/15 and $5,543,725 in 2015/16, for a total of $10,848,725 that comes in just below the approximate values being reported.

The Wizards are adding Pierce after losing Trevor Ariza, who signed with the Rockets after turning in a career year as Washington’s starting small forward. Pierce hops from the Nets to Washington after a single season in Brooklyn where he performed well, if not up to his career standards. The 36-year-old is a proven winner with the championship experience and demeanor the young Wizards are hoping to cultivate as they look to improve upon last year’s playoff run. Pierce’s teams haven’t missed the playoffs since the 2006/07 Celtics bottomed out before adding Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to complement “The Truth.”

League sources tell Tim Bontemps of The New York Post that the Nets passed on a chance to re-sign Pierce to avoid further luxury tax penalties (Twitter link). The Excel Sports Management client was looking for $9MM-$10MM per season as a free agent, and made over $15MM last season, so this contract appears to be a great value for Washington. The deal might look even better as the market for small forwards tightens further once Chandler Parsons‘ offer sheet with Dallas is matched or declined by the Rockets. Other teams had shown interest in acquiring Pierce, with the Clippers being the most confident in their ability to draw coach Doc Rivers‘ former player away from Brooklyn.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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