Paul Pierce has made a surprise switch to Washington.
The signing of Paul Pierce allows Washington to slot him in at the small forward spot as a replacement for the outgoing Trevor Ariza. He’s a lot cheaper than Ariza, signing for the mid-level exception ($5.3M) compared to the 4 year, $32M contract Ariza signed with the Houston Rockets
The Wizards will now be able to field an intriguing starting line-up of John Wall and Bradley Beal in a young, ever-improving backcourt, Paul Pierce, and Marcin Gortat and Nene in an established frontcourt.
The Wizards are building upon an impressive 2014 campaign when they reached the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and were unfortunate to fall to the Indiana Pacers in the second round. The signing of Pierce is a step in the right direction.
He, like Andre Miller who will return next season, can bring valuable experience and calmness to blend with the youthful energy the wizards exhibited last season. Pierce, unlike veteran Andre Miller, has won a championship and so he automatically commands respect from the young guns.
What Pierce won’t be able to bring is the consistent production that Ariza is capable of. Pierce only averaged 28 minutes per game for the Brooklyn Nets to conserve his energy at 36 years old. Meanwhile, 29 year old Ariza gave 35 minutes per game while adeptly guarding premier wings. Their offensive statistics are similar but Pierce is clearly a short term option for the Wizards.
The Wizards will hope that Paul Pierce inspires the rest of the team and pushes them to be even more successful this upcoming season, and make them an attractive landing spot for other free agents.