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If Celtics fans weren’t used to seeing Paul Pierce in a Nets jersey last season, this year isn’t going to get any easier. In the latest domino to fall since LeBron James decided to return to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, the former Celtic Pierce has decided to join the Washington Wizards, according to an ESPN report.
The contract is reportedly for two years and $11 million, with the second year being a player option that would allow Pierce to re-enter free agency next summer if he so chooses.
Frankly, I don’t know which is more surprising: that Pierce is going to be a Wizard or that he’s only going to be making $5.5 million next season.
What I do know for sure is that Danny Ainge made out like a bandit in that trade with Brooklyn that sent Pierce and Kevin Garnett (and Jason Terry, if you insist) to the Nets in exchange for a bunch of matching salaries and a bevy of first round picks. Essentially, Brooklyn will have surrendered three first rounders (and the rights to swap a fourth first round pick) for one year of Pierce and maybe two years of KG, if he comes back to get paaaaid even with Pierce and coach Jason Kidd gone.
Pierce replaces Trevor Ariza,, who departed our nation’s capital in favor of the Houston Rockets, at the small forward position on the Wizards. s strange as it will be to see him in his third uniform in the past three seasons, I can’t say I blame Pierce for signing in D.C. With John Wall, Bradley Beal, Nene, and the newly re-signed Marcin Gortat, that is a nicely constructed Wizards toster. And with the Heat in flux, the Cavs probably still at least a year away from seriously contending (though I wouldn’t underestimate LeBron), and the Pacers hard to take seriously after last season’s collapse and the impending loss of Lance Stephenson, the Eastern Conference is wide open. The Bulls may be the favorites with the addition of Pau Gasol and the return of Derrick Rose, but why not the Wizards?
Now all I can think about is how it’s too bad that the Celtics aren’t one of the teams that can capitalize on the weak Eastern Conference. At least Celtics fans can live vicariously through Pierce, right? Is that more or less depressing?
(Don’t answer that.)