Paul Pierce has officially opted out of contract with Wizards


May 5, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce (34) reacts near the end of the game against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in game two of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Wizards 106-90. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been expected, but now it’s official. Paul Pierce has opted out of his contract with the Washington Wizards, which only helps the Los Angeles Clippers’ case to sign him in free agency.

More from Clipperholics

Earlier this week, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post reported that Paul Pierce would likely opt out of his contract with the Wizards to test free agency. In doing so, Castillo expected that he would choose between two teams: the Wizards and the Clippers.

Now that it’s official, though (per The Players’ Tribune), and Pierce has left his $5.5 million player option to become a free agent, it’s looking more promising that a reunion with Doc Rivers may become a reality. However, Pierce has expressed his belief in his current teammates by saying “we have a really good young team, and a couple budding superstars” (in an interview with Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio). So there’s no way we can assume he’ll be joining the Clippers for now.

Yet seeing as he’s already made more than $184 million in his career, and he’s a genuine competitor who’s hungry for another shot at a championship, it’s unlikely he opted out in order to test the Wizards for more money.

When it comes to the Clippers’ financial situation, though, they do need to consider how they can actually afford to bring Paul Pierce onboard.

Their selection of power forward Branden Dawson in the 2015 NBA draft was an excellent move for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they acquired the kind of defensive specialist they need to help improve their 15th place ranking in defensive efficiency from this year (for an in depth look at Dawson’s game, click here). Secondly, they saved a lot of money. As instead of singing a veteran big man in free agency (that could range anywhere from a 10 year veteran’s minimum of $1.44 million to a possible $3.5 million), they can sign Dawson to a rookie contract of around just $525,000. They saved close to a million with Dawson, which only leaves them more leeway to sign Paul Pierce.

Nevertheless, they may still need to do more. Adrian Wojnarowski reported three days ago that the Clippers may trade some of their bench players (which essentially means trading Jamal Crawford) in order to make enough cap space to sign Paul Pierce. And if L.A. do move Crawford, they could create around $4.5 million that could be used to form a deal for Pierce.

The maximum amount the Clippers may offer Pierce is uncertain, and if they do need to trade someone in order to create enough cap space as Wojnarowski reported, he may require more than we think. But if the Clippers don’t make a trade, they can still offer Pierce a mini-midlevel exception of $3.37 million.

Of course there is no certainty to predicting where Paul Pierce may go right now, as he has reasons to sign with both. Yet seeing as he’s opted out of his contract, Los Angeles is his home town, he won a championship with Doc Rivers in 2008, and the Clippers have a more realistic shot at making a run for the title next season, there’s an increasing chance that The Truth will leave Washington for L.A..

Next: Yanick Moreira to play for Clippers in Orlando Summer League