The Brooklyn Nets have not been big players in free agency, hampered by existing contracts.
The team has lost multiple players. Shaun Livingston, a key part of the backcourt rotation, was snagged by the Golden State Warriors.
And late Saturday, news broke that Paul Pierce was signed by the Washington Wizards.
The biggest effect of the Pierce signing is that it could prompt Kevin Garnett to retire instead of finishing out the final year of his contract.
But Tim Bontemps of the New York Post says that Garnett will be back. “League sources say Pierce moving on will not impact Kevin Garnett’s decision to return for a 20th NBA season. Nets expect him back.”
The Nets could cut Marquis Teague but are unlikely to do so.
“For those who’ve asked about possibility of Marquis Teague getting cut: would cost multiple millions in tax,” Bontemps said. “Would be shocked if it happened.”
Anderson opted out of his contract with the Nets but practically nothing has been said of any offers to him.
The swingman may end up back with the Nets. He had a solid season last year, breaking into the starting lineup at some points.
Andray Blatche is still not signed by any team, including the Nets. It’s fairly unlikely that the Nets sign him because Brook Lopez will be back and Mason Plumlee will get more minutes.
Andrei Kirilenko opted into his contract to stay with the Nets, giving some stability to the forward position. With Pierce out, he could become the starter.
Marcus Thornton was dealt in a three team trade, which garnered the Nets Sergey Karasev of Russia. Kirilenko is expected to help mentor the young player.
See an Associated Press update below.
Sources: Pierce Signs With Wizards
Paul Pierce turns 37 in October and isn’t quite the offensive force he was when he was leading the Boston Celtics to the championship seven years ago.
The old man showed last year in Brooklyn that he still knows how to knock down a clutch shot and grind out a playoff series victory, which made the up-and-coming Washington Wizards eager to add the man known as “The Truth.”
Pierce and the Wizards agreed to terms on a two-year deal on Saturday night, a person with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press. The deal is for the mid-level exception, which is about $5.3 million for next season, and includes a player option in the second year of the contract. The person requested anonymity because the Wizards have not officially announced the signing.
“Welcome the truth @paulpierce34 to DC…#wizkids!!” Wizards point guard John Wall tweeted.
After spending the first 15 seasons of his career in Boston, Pierce is on the move for the second straight summer in a deal first reported by ESPN, and the Wizards couldn’t be happier.
Wall and Bradley Beal have formed one of the most exciting young backcourts in the league, and they helped the surprising Wizards to their first playoff series victory since 2005. Looking to build on that momentum, the Wizards have already brought back coach Randy Wittman, signed center Marcin Gortat to a five-year, $60 million and brought back veteran point guard Andre Miller.
One player it appears they weren’t able to retain is swingman Trevor Ariza, who agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal with the Houston Rockets, according to several reports, including USA Today.
“I want to thank @WashWizards (owner) @TedLeonsis … for two great years,” Ariza tweeted. “I will (always) be grateful for you guys. Much love… To my lil bros @John_Wall and @RealDealBeal23 stay on that grind love y’all boys. #wizkids #respect.”
It didn’t take long for the Wizards to rebound. Now those “Wiz kids” have another big brother to help show them how to take the next step.
Pierce averaged a career-low 13.5 points last season in his first year with the Nets. But he is a 10-time All-Star who has gained a reputation as one of the best big-moment players in the league.
Pierce doesn’t have a game that relies on extreme athleticism or quickness. It’s predicated more on instincts and an ability to initiate contact to create space to get off that trademark high-arching jump shot, which should allow him to remain effective longer than other players who lose some of the juice in their legs as they get older.
“I would like welcome Paul Pierce to The Wizards family. We’re going to have a great run,” Gortat tweeted. “It’s going to be an honor to play with such an amazing player.”
It also further underlines the major disappointment in Brooklyn.
The Nets gave three first-round draft picks to the Celtics last summer to bring Pierce and Kevin Garnett in and make a run at a championship. But a team that cost owner Mikhail Prokhorov about $190 million after luxury tax payments got off to a horrid start to the season, beat the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs and then were dismissed in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Miami Heat.
Coach Jason Kidd lost a power struggle with Nets management and wound up in Milwaukee and now Pierce is gone as well.