The Los Angeles Clippers were long-rumored to be the likely free agent destination, but Pierce will instead remain in the Eastern Conference. The 36-year-old forward is headed to the Southeast Division after agreeing to a two-year deal worth $11 million with the Wizards, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
According to Stein, Pierce will sign for the mid-level exception with a player option for the second season. That means Pierce will earn roughly $5.3 million next season, down from the reported $9-10 million per season he was seeking, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. In Washington, Pierce will help fill the void at small forward following the departure of Trevor Ariza to Houston. The Wizards attempted to re-sign Ariza, but he opted for the Rockets' offer.
Although Pierce is not the player he once was, he still had his moments last season for Brooklyn. He averaged 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 28 minutes per game last year, shooting 45.1 percent from the floor. He could play a similar role for the Wizards next season. Ariza played more than 35 minutes per game, and while Pierce is unlikely to carry that sort of a workload, he could take the majority of those minutes. Otto Porter Jr., the No. 3 pick last year, should also see increased playing time and could team with Pierce to fill the small forward minutes.
At the very minimum, Pierce will add another veteran with playoff experience. With LeBron James leaving the Heat, the Southwest Division and the Eastern Conference are likely to be more competitive. Washington took a major step forward last season and, at the very least, Pierce will be depth as Washington attempts to climb further.