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Wizards confidence in retaining Paul Pierce increases while Clippers' confidence wanes

To kick off the new league year, the Wizards are going to have a conversation with Paul Pierce, who is reportedly the Wizards' top priority this offseason.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Although Paul Pierce has opted out of his contract with the Washington Wizards, the team still feels like they have a good chance at retaining him, according to a report from ESPN's Marc Stein.

While the Wizards' confidence in retaining Pierce's services is growing, USA TODAY's Sam Amick reports that the Los Angeles Clippers, the team that could potentially draw Pierce from Washington, are not confident that Pierce would come play for the Clippers for less money.

Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears is reporting that Pierce will be the Wizards' top priority during this free agency period. The Wizards made a call to Pierce at 12:01 at the start of free agency, according to Real GM's Shams Charania.

The Wizards have also shown interest in Bulls' swingman Mike Dunleavy Jr., who has also received interest from the Cavaliers according to Charania. The Bulls remain the favorite for his services because of their retention of his bird rights, but as our own Umair Khan points out, they would have to go into the luxury tax to retain him and have tons of depth on the wings.

The league has barely crossed over into the new year, yet the Wizards are already busy trying to retain Pierce and establish their wing rotation. You have to think that a decision from Pierce won't come until some of the other free agency dust settles--especially if he is seriously considering the Clippers. Deandre Jordan is a key cog on their team and Pierce may wait until Jordan makes a decision on the Clippers before he makes his own.

The Wizards' confidence in retaining Pierce's services is not surprising at all. There are not many teams in the market for the 38 year old swing man and the Wizards will be able to offer more money than the Clippers, who will likely have to throw max dollars at Jordan.

Things could get interesting with a potential extra $2 million to play with, according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, but the Clippers will still have to get a bit creative to squeeze Pierce in before getting close to the luxury tax threshold if Jordan chooses to re-sign on a maximum or near-maximum deal.

We'll see how the cards fall soon enough, but it sure is good to know the Wizards are putting in their work early on and covering all of their bases.