In a bit of a shocker, the Brooklyn Nets have lost veteran forward Paul Pierce to the Washington Wizards. It was announced Saturday night that Pierce, who was a free agent, agreed to a two-year deal worth $11 million with the Wizards.
With Trevor Ariza bolting to the Houston Rockets, the Wizards looked to immediately fill-in a semi-vacant small forward position. They did so by adding the veteran Pierce, who can also be used at the power forward spot. Pierce will be mixed in with Martell Webster and Otto Porter, Jr. for the position. He can be another leader for an upcoming team with John Wall and Bradley Beal at the helm.
A tumultuous offseason continues for the Nets.
Brooklyn did not have a draft pick as they traded away their picks in acquiring Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Pierce in recent offseasons. They were able to pull off some deals that landed them Markel Brown, Cory Jefferson and Xavier Thames in the second round.
The Nets top two priorities heading into the offseason were re-signing free agents Pierce and Shaun Livingston. Livingston left early in the free agency period for an opportunity to play with the Golden State Warriors. He will play backup to All-Star Stephen Curry.
Next up was the out-of-the-blue break-up with head coach Jason Kidd after he had attempted a power move that went incredibly wrong. Kidd then maneuvered his way to Milwaukee Bucks where he immediately Larry Drew as their head coach.
Fortunately for Brooklyn, they were able to potentially improve their vacant position by hiring ex-Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins.
Following the Hollins hire, Brooklyn immediately tried to find a point guard to backup Deron Williams, a void left open with the departure of Livingston. The Nets dealt Marcus Thornton to the Boston Celtics in a deal that landed Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Jarrett Jack. In that move, sure, the Nets got the backup point guard they were coveting and would be unable to acquire in free agency with their limited flexibility. However, the biggest part of that deal is that by accepting Jack the Nets helped the Cavaliers create enough cap space to sign LeBron James. Yes, the Nets helped an Eastern Conference foe land the league’s best player. They also acquired second-year forward Sergey Karasev through the deal following a massively ineffective and disappointing rookie season.
Now comes the surprising departure of Pierce.
It was recently reported by Mike Mazzeo of ESPN that Pierce and the Nets organization were negotiating a new deal that would keep Pierce in Brooklyn for two more seasons. Pierce, 36, has let it be known that he wants to play two more seasons in the NBA.
Well, he got his two more seasons, just not where it was necessarily expected.
For the Nets, it’s quite possible that they started considering how much money they spending. After all, the Nets spent close to $190 million last season after including tax implications.
Nets had the chance to re-sign Pierce and passed, according to league sources. Would have cost them upwards of $20 million in luxury taxes.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 13, 2014
The decision to pass on re-signing Pierce comes just one year after having made the blockbuster deal to acquire him, Garnett and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics.
The Nets fell short of their aspirations as they won just 44 games and lost in five games in the second round of the playoffs to the Miami Heat.
The roster organization is now going through some major changes. What’s next is anyone’s guess.