Clippers can sign Wizards’ Paul Pierce with $3.37 million


May 13, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce (34) reacts to a play against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in game five of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Wizards 82-81. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers’ offseason is well underway since they traded Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes for the Indiana Pacers’ Lance Stephenson. But seeing as they still need to add depth to their star-studded team, Doc Rivers’ work isn’t over yet.

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The next target that the Clippers can consider is Paul Pierce of the Washington Wizards. According to a report by The Washington Post, he’s expected to dismiss his $5.5 million player option and officially become a free agent by the end of the month.

This potential signing wouldn’t be to just reunite him with his head coach from his Boston Celtics’ days, but to acquire another weapon who can make big shots in clutch situations and provide some veteran leadership to support the likes of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Even at 37 years of age this season, Pierce still played 26.2 minutes per game and averaged 11.9 points on 44.7 percent shooting, 38.9 percent three point shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 0.6 steals.

His late game ability (just look back at his buzzer beater to win Game 3 against the Atlanta Hawks), tough defense and locker room presence and leadership would be extremely valuable to the Clippers, but whether or not they can bring him in with their limited cap space is another matter.

After dismissing the contracts of Barnes and Hawes (which equalled just over $8.6 million this year) the acquisition of Stephenson’s three-year $27 million contract has made little difference to their cap situation. However, even though Pierce is still undecided as to whether he’ll play next season in Washington or Los Angeles, it’s clear that he’s playing for the chance at another championship — not just to cash in more cheques.

According to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post, the Clippers can offer Pierce a mini-midlevel exception of $3.37 million:

"The Clippers will likely only be able to offer Pierce the mini-midlevel exception of $3.37 million, but they are arguably closer to hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy than the Wizards — even in the tough Western Conference — and provide Pierce two amenities the Wizards cannot: A return home and a reunion with Doc Rivers. Pierce grew up in Los Angeles and Rivers, now the Clippers’ maestro as the organization’s coach and general manager, coached him for nine seasons with the Boston Celtics. They won the title together there in 2008."

Precisely as Castillo has suggested above, the Clippers have several factors in their favour. Los Angeles is not only the hometown of Pierce, but also features the coach he won a championship with in 2008 and a team with three All-NBA caliber talents in Paul, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

If it’s a title Pierce wants, in what will likely be his final year in the NBA, it’s the Clippers rather than the Wizards who can give him a better chance of making it happen. That being said, Pierce has still expressed how much he believes in the young stars of the Wizards (in an interview with SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio) such as John Wall and Bradley Beal, as well as stating that he felt they were a better side in the playoffs than the Hawks.

At this stage, however, the city The Truth will land in next season is still entirely up in the air. Hopefully for the Clippers, their superior talent and personal attachments to Pierce will lure him away from Washington.

Next: With Lance Stephenson, the Clippers' rebuild is off to a strong start