Paul Pierce will play next season.
With that decision made, his next step is handling his his $5,543,725 player option.
Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce has decided to play next season but is expected to bypass his $5.5 million player option, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.
This doesn’t preclude Pierce from returning to the Wizards. In fact, he can re-sign for a 20% raise from last season (to $5,543,725). Exercising his option would have meant just a 4.5% raise.
Pierce probably has the leverage to secure that bigger deal from Washington after his impressive season and playoff run. But the Wizards should be mindful of getting Otto Porter an expanded role.
More importantly, they’ll be wary of giving Pierce more than one year – with their primary goal preserving cap space for Kevin Durant in 2016.
That could open the door for the Clippers, who are interested in Pierce and have a big hole at small forward after trading Matt Barnes. They can pay just the taxpayer mid-level exception ($3,376,000 starting), but they’d probably hesitate less to offer multiple years (a second year at $3,527,920 and maybe even a third year at$3,679,840).
It’s unclear how much a longer contract appeals to Pierce, who turns 38 before the season. But the Clippers offer a starting job, a coach he knows in Doc Rivers and a spot in his native Los Angeles.