Despite having a very good season with the Washington Wizards, Paul Pierce won’t opt in for another season with them. Instead, he’ll hit free agency and join the Los Angeles Clippers in what might be his final season in the NBA, hoping it’ll come along with a second NBA title.
There hasn’t been any official word from the future hall of famer, but there have been sources popping up in various major media outlets suggesting that Pierce won’t take the $5.5 million on the table if he stays another season in Washington, and prefers to join the Clippers, coached by Doc Rivers (his former head coach at Boston), for what will be his 18th NBA season.
Pierce averaged 11.9 points per game last season for the Wizards, his first (and probably only) season with the team. He helped the Wizards make the postseason and took his play, not necessarily his numbers but his leadership and his decision making to the next level in the postseason, helping the Wizards sweep the Toronto Raptors and give the Atlanta Hawks a very hard time in the conference semifinals.
Pierce averaged 14.6 points in the playoffs, even better than in his campaign with the Nets a year before. He made some big shots at clutch time, some that counted, other that didn’t. He was the difference between the Wizards being just another team that stumbles into the playoffs than a team that for a moment or two looked like challengers.
With Matt Barnes gone to Charlotte, it looks like the small forward position is available for Pierce to start in. It doesn’t mean the Clippers won’t add more players to their perimeter because Pierce can’t carry too much of a load from late October to mid-April but after another playoff letdown in Los Angeles which had more to do with the mental side of things than pure basketball, maybe adding a veteran champion like Pierce will make the difference.