Paul Pierce, an unrestricted free agent, might want to join the Clippers. Not only do they play in his hometown, they employee his former coach, Doc Rivers.
But the Nets, who hold Pierce’s Bird rights, have some leverage.
The Clippers can offer Pierce no more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception – $5,305,000 starting,$22,652,350 over four years – unless they convinced Brooklyn to do a sign-and-trade.
Alex Raskin of The Wall Street Journal:
If they really don’t care about payroll, they could offer Pierce a max contract to stay. It wouldn’t impact their ability to sign someone else. Whether or not they keep Pierce, the Nets would still have only the taxpayer mid-level exception – $3,278,000 starting,$10,550,175 over three years – to add a free agent.
Dangling players like Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley and Reggie Bullock probably won’t get it done for the Clippers.
Of course, this could just be posturing on Brooklyn’s part. If Pierce really wants to test the Nets, he could threaten to sign with the Clippers for the mid-level exception.
That could turn sign-and-trade discussions serious in a hurry. Maybe Crawford wouldn’t seem like such a bad consolation prize at that point.