In the wake of Trevor Ariza‘s departure from Washington D.C., the Washington Wizards have signed Paul Pierce. For a while, Pierce was rumored to be heading to the Los Angeles Clippers. Instead, in an unexpected turn of events, Pierce will be remaining in the Eastern Conference and playing with the Wizards.
The Wizards and Pierce have agreed on a two-year deal worth $11 million with a player option for the second season. Pierce will now be playing for his third team in three years, but he couldn’t have chosen a better destination. The former Boston Celtic, “The Truth” is not who he once used to be, but he still remains a standout athlete. In his last season with the Brooklyn Nets, he averaged 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. I believe he is the role player Washington has been searching for.
In Washington, Pierce is the perfect player to fill the Ariza void. He provides a great wing presence. Last season, he shot 45 percent overall and 37 percent from behind the arc. He is also a player with great playoff and championship experience, which is an extremely valuable asset to a team young team that needs to get shown how to get to the finish line. Because the Wizards will not expect Pierce to carry the amount of minutes Ariza did, it shows that Washington now has put more faith in Otto Porter Jr., who has been playing outstanding in this year’s summer league. In his debut, Porter put on a mid-range jump shot clinic going 11-of-16, scoring 25 points and also grabbing seven rebounds. This deal is perfect for the Wizards because Pierce has the ability to be the perfect mentor to the young Porter.
Pierce’s two-year deal also allows Washington to be able to manage their salary cap in hopes of chasing the hometown favorite Kevin Durant when he hits free agency after the 2015-16 season. Paying for Pierce as a mid-level player couldn’t have worked out better for Washington. The 2014-15 NBA season is going to be a good one for Washington.