After a long summer vacation, Paul Pierce has decided to resume his playing career for the 2015-16 career. However, he also plans on opting out of his $5.5 million player option, according to a source of ESPN's Marc Stein. In addition, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post reported that Pierce will only play for either the Washington Wizards or Los Angeles Clippers next season.
At first glance, you may be thinking that Pierce is destined for L.A. because he has decided to opt out of his player options. This gives him the option to sign with the Clippers outright this summer, where he can sign for the taxpayer midlevel exception of $3.4 million. This may be a lower salary than what he earned last season, but Los Angeles is also where Pierce is from. Finally, he played for Doc Rivers, the Clippers' Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations and was a former teammate Sam Cassell, L.A.'s now-assistant coach who lured him to Washington last summer.
There is still reason to believe that Pierce will return to Washington despite the fact that he opted out. Pierce truly enjoyed playing in Washington this past season and relishes the chance to serve as a mentor to their younger players. However, Pierce could sign for a one-year contract worth more than $5.5 million so he can get every last penny before he calls it a career.
I'm on the fence on what Pierce ends up doing. But this much is clear. The ball is in his court when it comes to negotiations and he has no shortage of options on exactly what to do over the next several weeks once free agency starts in full swing next month.