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Pierce to Wizards on 2-year deal

7/13/2014

Former Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce is set to sign with the Washington Wizards:

After a short stay in Brooklyn, Paul Pierce is heading to the Washington Wizards.

Sources close to the process told ESPN.com on Saturday that Pierce has committed to sign a two-year, $11 million deal with the Wizards, who moved swiftly to find a title-tested replacement for Trevor Ariza after Ariza struck an agreement earlier in the day to join the Houston Rockets.

The contract, sources said, has a player option after this season that will allow Pierce, 36, to return to free agency next summer if he chooses.

The short-term nature of the deal, meanwhile, could help Washington preserve some flexibility for its dream scenario of pursuing DC native Kevin Durant when the current Oklahoma City Thunder star is scheduled to be a free agent in the summer of 2016.

Pierce, a 10-time All-Star, took to Twitter early Sunday morning.

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Rapid reaction: Pierce delivers a bit of a shocker, shunning the more established contenders to join an intriguing Wizards team on the rise. Many thought Pierce, traded from Boston to Brooklyn last summer, would end up with Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers or back alongside Kevin Garnett with the Nets. But Pierce took modest money (two years, $11 million) to help replace Trevor Ariza with the Wizards and should be exactly the veteran presence that team needs to have a chance in the changing Eastern Conference. Pierce's departure from Brooklyn only makes last summer's trade with the Nets look better for Boston, which brought back three first-round picks as part of the deal. You can't help but wonder what effect Pierce's decision will have on Kevin Garnett. From ESPN New York:

What does this mean for KG? We will soon find out. The Nets still expect Garnett to return this season for the final year of his contract worth $12 million.

But Garnett could return and be unhappy. He clearly did not envision playing for the Nets without Pierce and Kidd when he waived his no-trade clause last summer. Garnett may be in the twilight of his career and maybe a 20-minute-a-night player who plays 50-60 games and sits on back-to-backs at this point. But he’s still an asset as far as being a positive influence on younger teammates and a mentor to the likes of Lopez and Mason Plumlee.

If Garnett returns and doesn’t like the situation, both sides could opt to try and seek a trade later in the season. We will have to wait and see if Garnett does return and how happy he will be now that his best friend Pierce is gone

For those that dream of Pierce coming home to Boston to end his playing career, his new deal is expected to include a player option that could allow him to return to free agency next summer (when the Celtics could be looking to add a veteran wing as part of their own push to return to contender status). -- Chris Forsberg