As we've discussed before, the Wizards would be left in a tough spot if Paul Pierce decides to leave Washington. It would be hard to find a player to replace Pierce's output without using cap room the Wizards don't have or offering a long-term deal the Wizards don't want to give.
So how would the Wizards compensate for losing Pierce? Well, based on some reports, it may not be by signing a stretch four to fill the role he handled so well in the playoffs. Instead, the Wizards might be looking at...Rodney Stuckey, according to J. Michael of CSN Washington:
The Wizards, CSNwashington.com has confirmed with multiple sources, have met or reached out to guards Rodney Stuckey and Wayne Ellington when the period open Wednesday.
Stuckey is the most intriguing because he's 2-for-1 when it comes to need. He's a 6-5 combo guard who played for the Indiana Pacers last season. He averaged 12.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 26 minutes per game.
If nothing else, credit the Wizards for coming up with an outside-the-box plan to replace Pierce if he leaves. If you can't find an equivalent replacement for what you're losing, retooling the roster to take advantage of a different strength isn't a bad idea. Furthermore, paying the mid-level for Stuckey, who 17.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per 36 minutes last season, is a pretty solid move on value alone.
But at the same time, using the mid-level exception on Stuckey probably isn't the best use of the Wizards' limited financial options. The Wizards need another ballhandler off the bench who can score and create offense, but is it worth using the MLE to fill that need if you're losing Pierce and you already have John Wall and Bradley Beal?
Perhaps the Wizards are ready to make that gamble, given how the stretch four market may be in less demand than initially expected, with Jonas Jerebko signing a 2 year, $10 million deal and Draymond Green not getting the offer he was expecting from Golden State, at least initially. Perhaps if they can find someone who fits their need for a stretch four with their traded player exceptions rather than the MLE, the gamble on Stuckey is worth it, but it's certainly one that comes with risk if the Wizards can't recapture what helped their offense click in the playoffs.
Let's just hope Pierce stays. UPDATE: Nope.