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Pierce Joins Wizards on 2-Year Deal

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Paul Pierce. (credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Paul Pierce. (credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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UPDATE: July 17, 2014 4:25 p.m.

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – The Washington Wizards announced Thursday that the team has signed forward Paul Pierce.

Pierce, 36, 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 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 reportedly 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. However, the Wizards have not yet released details of the deal.

“We are very happy to welcome Paul to our organization and add his championship experience and history of clutch play to our team,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said in a press release Thursday. “He will be a good fit alongside our young, dynamic backcourt while his presence and leadership will make a difference for us both on and off the court.”

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.

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 joins Washington with a career average 21.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals. He has also shot .447 from the field, .370 from three-point range and .807 from the line in 1,177 career games with Boston and Brooklyn. The 6-foot-7 forward currently ranks as the 18th leading scorer in NBA history with 25,031 points and ranks fourth among active players in NBA scoring history – behind only Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett.

Pierce also has 148 postseason games under his belt, in addition to his regular season history.

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 over the weekend. “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.

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