After one season for the Nets, Paul Pierce is leaving Brooklyn to sign a two-year deal with the Washington Wizards, according to ESPN's Marc Stein on Twitter. The deal is worth $11 million, with the second year of the contract being a player option.
According to the New York Post's Tim Bontemps, the Nets were hesitant to re-sign Pierce since it would push them further over the luxury tax. As of this writing, the Nets already feature a payroll that sits over $20 million over the salary cap.
Teams rumored to be interested in Pierce included the Nets, Clippers, and Rockets. The Wizards were left with a hole at small forward with the departure of Trevor Ariza, who signed a four-year, $32 million deal with Houston earlier Saturday.
Pierce's Brooklyn departure now leaves the team with unreliable and unproven options to replace The Truth at the three. Currently, the Nets have an oft-injured Andrei Kirilenko and recent acquisition Sergey Karasev as the only small forwards on the team. However, the Nets are said to be close to a deal to bring 2011 second round pick Bojan Bogdanovic over from Europe. If the Nets do indeed ink Bogdanovic, both he and second year pro Karasev would likely the see the majority of minutes at small forward.
In case you were wondering, Pierce's decision to leave Brooklyn will have no affect on Kevin Garnett's decision to return to the Nets for a second season, according to Bontemps. He adds that the team is still operating under the assumption that Garnett will return.
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