The Nets would like to pay Pierce around $6-8 million per season on a short-term contract, sources say.
Pierce, however, as first reported by Sports Illustrated and confirmed by ESPNNewYork.com, would like to be paid around $9-10 million.
Sources have said since before the start of free agency that it likely was going to take somewhere in the neighborhood of $9-10 million to entice Pierce to come back.
“I think we’re in the process [of negotiations],” Nets GM Billy King said in a recent interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s “The Michael Kay Show.” “We know the number we want to get to, I think [Pierce and his agent] know the number they want to get to. We’re just trying to get to the point where we’re all comfortable and I know what we’re trying to accomplish, and it’s just in the negotiation process. That’s all it is. We have the ability to pay him more than everybody else, but we are going to be a little bit more financially responsible at this point in time.”
The Los Angeles Clippers tried to engage the Nets in a sign-and-trade deal for Pierce, but King said it did not make sense for his team.
The Clippers are attractive to Pierce because he’d be reunited with his former coach, Doc Rivers, and he’s from Los Angeles. Plus, the Clippers are a Western Conference contender with a core that includes Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
The Nets have Pierce’s Bird Rights, enabling them to pay him more money than any other team.
Pierce, who will turn 37 this season, made $15.3 million last season. He’s been on record as saying he’d like to play for another year or two.
Pierce’s longtime teammate, Kevin Garnett, is expected to return to Brooklyn for his 20th season. Garnett has yet to confirm his decision publicly, however.
Pierce is currently playing in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
— Andrew Feldman (@AFeldmanESPN) July 7, 2014
ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.