In a flurry of moves, the Washington Wizards went from small forward Trevor Ariza to small forward Paul Pierce. The Wizards lost out to the Houston Rockets on a four-year, $32 million deal to re-sign Ariza. It is believed Ariza agreed to the terms primarily because there is no income tax in Houston allowing for him to receive the fully allotted contract. Washington did not completely lose out on the deal agreeing to a three-team sign and trade that brings in Melvin Ely’s unguaranteed contract and an $8.5 million trade exception.
Then, Washington, in a bit of impulse, took the left over salary cap space and proceeded to sign veteran small forward Paul Pierce to a two-year $10.8 million contract. The 10-time All Star and formerNBA finals MVP will bring a plethora of playoff experience and a confidence the team is looking for as they make a run at an Eastern Conference championship. In 2013-14, Pierce averaged 13.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while playing just one season with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Wizards were looking at the possibility of having to start second-year man Otto Porter Jr. at small forward and felt he was not an immediate fix without Martell Webster for the first month of the season. Also, the deal allows Washington to have the necessary contract space two off-seasons from now when they plan on making a run at Kevin Durant.
The Wizards front office appeared poised and intelligent in their first major off-season since becoming Eastern Conference contenders and should be a major force to be reckoned with in 2014-15.