OH MY GOD. Less than seven hours after losing Trevor Ariza, the Wizards have rebounded in a totally unexpected way, signing PAUL PIERCE (all caps necessary) to a two-year deal at the mid-level exception, with a player option after Year 2. PAUL PIERCE
ESPN has learned that Pierce will sign a two-year deal with the Wizards at the mid-level exception with a player option entering Year 2— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 13, 2014
Can confirm Paul Pierce deal with #wizards. Hearing his former BOS teammate Sam Cassell played role in helping to convince The Truth to come— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) July 13, 2014
I mean ... wow. I got the sense that the Wizards weren't nearly as torn up about losing Ariza as many would have expected, but this is stunning. Rumors suggested Luol Deng, but this is a complete shocker.
And before you overanalyze: it's also a GREAT move. Pierce still has plenty of game left, putting up a 16.8 PER and a scorching 59.5 percent true shooting percentage in 28 minutes a game for the Nets. It helped that he played a lot of power forward in small lineups, but he should still be able to transition back to the 3 if needed. He's not nearly the player he once was, of course, but he's still really effective in a limited role and will be able to do that with John Wall and Bradley Beal around. Better yet, it saves room for the summer of 2016 rather than giving away a lot of that flexibility to Ariza.
There are definitely some complications. Pierce isn't the defender Ariza is and the Wizards now lack one key tool to upgrade their big man rotation. But seriously, PAUL PIERCE CHOSE THE WIZARDS IN FREE AGENCY. PAUL PIERCE.
Its going to be an honor to play with such an amazing player.— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) July 13, 2014
Ohbytheway, remember when Pierce said this about the Wizards in March?
"They're good," Paul Pierce said of the Wizards after the Nets failed to make a field goal over the final 6:22 and allowed Washington to close the game on a 14-3 run. "They're coming into their own. They're growing up right before our eyes.
"You've seen their struggles over the years, and John Wall has matured as a player, obviously, becoming an All-Star this year and taking on more responsibilities and becoming a leader for this ball club. That's what the Washington Wizards have been waiting on, and you're seeing it."