NBA News: Washington Wizards Lose Trevor Ariza, Gain Paul Pierce Instead
By Vincent Paul Hidalgo | July 14, 2014 11:11 AM EST
The Washington Wizards failed to keep their starting small forward they get a Future Hall of Famer to replicate their success last year.
Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce defends against Miami Heat forward LeBron James in the second half in game four of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs in New York in this file photo taken May 12, 2014. LeBron James is going home by signing with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, he said in an article in Sports Illustrated on Friday.
Paul Pierce and the Wizards agree upon a two-year deal roughly above the midlevel exception annually. The second year will be a player option for the all-star small forward. The 37-year old player will fill in for the shoes vacated by two-way forward Trevor Ariza who had some sort of renaissance last season, attracting several teams, among them the Houston Rockets who pried him away from the Wizards.
In a deal first reported by ESPN.com, Paul Pierce was ecstatic about coming to the capital and trying to push John Wall, Bradley Beal and the rest of the young Wizards to a higher spot in the playoffs. Peirce immediately took to twitter his excitement with his new club.
Obama , J Wall here I come
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) July 13, 2014
The veteran world champion who was the former franchise player of the Boston Celtics gas reasonably dimished in skills due to his age but showed he could still contribute to a championship cause. He was the crunch time go to guy in several of the Brooklyn Nets last playoffs even pushing to the second round via a gutsy seven game win over the Toronto Raptos. The Nets were given the opportunity to keep Pierce but declined. They will be again paying the luxury tax upwards of $20 million if they had kept the Truth.
Immediately, his new teammates welcomed him with open arms. John Wall took to twitter his pleasure of adding a veteran player who can teach them the ropes of winning close playoff games. ''Welcome the truth (at)paulpierce34 to DC...(hash)wizkids!!'' the Wizards point guard John Wall tweeted. Marcin Gortat who also re-upped his deal with Washington for five more years at $60 million also welcomed him to the team via a tweet.
This new development is a blow to the re-tooling Nets who have recently traded first year coach Jason Kidd to the Milwaukee Bucks due to a reported internal power struggle. They will also have to face the option of losing out on Kevin Garnett who has the option to consider retirement and forego his last year with the club. There are also question marks on the recovery of Brook Lopez and the transfer of combo guard Shaun Livingston to the Golden State Warriors.
The Wizards, on the other hand, have a brighter future on their hands with a solidified frontcourt of Gortat, Nene and Trevor Booker plus arguably the Eastern conference's best backcourt duo of Wall and Beal. They have also extended the contract of coach Randy Whittman in hopes of stability and continuity in the upcoming years.
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