All signs point to Paul Pierce returning this fall for an 18th NBA season, although where the 37-year-old will play is anyone’s guess.
The Washington Post and ESPN.com both reported over the weekend that Pierce plans both to play next season and to pass up his $5.54 million player option with the Washington Wizards, making him a free agent.
If Pierce does indeed decline his option, his two most probable paths, per the Post’s Jorge Castillo, would be to reach a new contract agreement and remain with the Wizards or to return to his hometown of Los Angeles to play under Clippers coach Doc Rivers, reuniting the duo that helped lead the Boston Celtics to an NBA title in 2008.
The Wizards would be able to offer the veteran forward a more lucrative contract, but the prospect of playing for his old coach on a team many believe is closer to contending for a championship could be enough to lure Pierce to the West Coast.
Pierce was one of the stars of this year’s playoffs but saw limited playing time during his first regular season in D.C., logging career lows in minutes, points and rebounds per game.
With the Clippers dealing starting small forward Matt Barnes in the Lance Stephenson trade and L.A. already boasting one of the league’s shallowest benches, Rivers’ club could use a player like Pierce.
Thumbnail photo via Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports Images