Paul Pierce is headed to the Washington Wizards, thanks to a nudge by a former teammate.
Sam Cassell, who played alongside Pierce on the Boston Celtics’ 2008 NBA championship team, was instrumental in convincing Pierce to sign with the Wizards, according to an inside account by The Washington Post of how the signing was orchestrated. Now an assistant in Washington, Cassell stepped up after it was clear the Wizards had lost out on Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza.
Pierce was impressed last season by the Wizards, who swept the season series against Pierce’s Brooklyn Nets. But the 36-year-old forward still needed a push.
“Immediately after coaching the Wizards to a 90-74 summer league victory, Cassell got on the phone with his former teammate in Boston and convinced Pierce of the talent on Washington’s roster, according to a person with knowledge of the situation,” the Post’s Michael Lee wrote Monday. “Pierce’s friendship with Cassell contributed to his trust that the Wizards could make some moves in a wide-open East that was leveled with LeBron James’ reverse decision to leave Miami and go back home to the Cleveland Cavaliers.”
Pierce reportedly agreed to a two-year deal that will pay him $10.8 million over two seasons. He tweeted his announcement early Sunday morning from Las Vegas, where he is competing in the World Series of Poker.