by Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — By this time next week, the Washington Wizards could look very different, with the opportunity to add talent in the 2015 NBA Draft, and the growing possibility of at least temporarily losing veteran forward Paul Pierce.

Pierce, who joined the Wizards on July 17, 2014, has an opt-out clause in his contract that could prove tempting, as NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reports that both the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics could make a run at the 37-year-old:

The Clippers have always been in play for the L.A.-native, who has spent his entire career on the East Coast. In addition to having his old head coach, Doc Rivers, the Clippers also have a roster loaded for a championship run.

The Celtics make sense because Pierce played 15 Hall-of-Fame caliber seasons there, carrying the franchise through lean years and flourishing as part of the Big Three. If Kevin Love opts out of his contract with the Cavaliers, as he has reportedly done, the Celtics have the resources to woo him to Boston.

With a chance to be competitive in a city he never wanted to leave, Pierce may choose nostalgia and return. But it isn’t quite that simple.

As Wojnarowski reports, the Cavaliers are in the best position to retain Love on a max contract, even as he plans to opt out. The Lakers and Suns are also expected to pursue the forward/center, if he becomes available, and he is expected to consider all offers during his first chance at free agency.

While all of this is happening, Pierce must decide whether or not to opt out of his remaining $5.5 million contract with the Wizards by July 1. If he doesn’t, he is presumably locked in for another title run with John Wall, Bradley Beal and company.

If he does opt out, it could be just to buy time before returning. The Wizards have made retaining Pierce a priority, but Washington will have to wait as the musical chairs of free agency begins.


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