.Photo credit: Keith Allison / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
That didn't take long.
The Washington Wizards wasted little time finding a new small forward, as the team will sign veteran forward Paul Pierce to a 2-year, $11 million deal. Pierce will replace the departing Trevor Ariza, who yesterday agreed to a four year deal with the Houston Rockets. Pierce will sign at the team's mid-level exception, and his contract will have a player option after the first year. Pierce played one season with the Brooklyn Nets after spending the first 15 years of his career with the Boston Celtics.
After the disappointment of failing to retain Ariza, the Wizards needed to move quickly to find a replacement, and with Luol Deng in strong negotiations to sign with the Miami Heat, it appeared that the top small forwards were all off the market. However, the departure of Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd left the future of the Nets in question, and with Pierce resigning with the team no longer the likely conclusion, the Wizards were able to swoop in and make the surprising signing.
In Pierce, the Wizards will be getting a future Hall of Famer and a seasoned veteran with a ton of playoff experience. Despite averaging a career low in points (13.5) and posting a career low player efficiency rating (16.8) last season, Pierce demonstrated in the playoffs that he can still hit clutch shots and that his poise and leadership remain valuable assets. Pierce will be expected to help solidify the forward position while serving as a mentor to young players John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter.
Tags: Basketball, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, Paul Pierce, Small Forward, Trevor Ariza, Washington, Washington Wizards