Pierce, a 19-year NBA veteran, has already announced his retirement from the NBA, making today’s roster move a formality. Pierce’s contract extended through the 2017/18 season, so the Clippers had long been expected to either trade or waive him. Approximately $1MM of Pierce’s $3.58MM salary for next season is guaranteed — L.A. can either carry that entire amount on the ’17/18 cap, or stretch it across three seasons.
Pierce’s salary for 2017/18 had initially been set to fully guarantee if he remained under contract beyond June 30. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported earlier today that Pierce and the Clippers had agreed to extend that guarantee date in order to give the team a chance to use him in a trade in July. However, it seems the club won’t get that opportunity.
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The Clippers’ agreement with the Rockets on the deal that will send Paul to Houston features seven players heading to Los Angeles for salary-matching purposes. The roster limit for NBA teams increases from 15 to 20 in the offseason, but by taking on six extra players in the swap, the Clips still would have been one over the 20-man limit if they had hung onto Pierce.