Though the newly re-signed DeAndre Jordan grabbed headlines after discussing his decision to return to L.A. and spurn the Dallas Mavericks at the last minute, Pierce also made a notable move, leaving the Washington Wizards after one season to join the Clippers.
Pierce, 38, is now on his third team in three seasons and chasing a second championship ring. He grew up in Inglewood, Calif. and said he saw the Clippers as an opportunity to return home and finish his career on a high note. He will also reunite with head coach Doc Rivers, with whom he won a title in Boston in 2008.
“I’m at the point in my career where it’s winding down,” Pierce told media on Tuesday during a press conference for the Clippers' free-agent signees. “I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I wanted another opportunity to win a championship. I thought just being here would be a great fit. I’m a veteran. I could be another voice in the locker room and I can just pretty much fill any role that they need me to play.”
According to The Washington Post, Pierce declined his $5.5 million player option for next season and then turned down a $6.6 million offer from the Wizards to join the Clippers on a three-year deal starting at $3.37 million. Pierce's third year is a team option. The Wizards declined to offer Pierce a guaranteed second year on his deal.
“Last year, I had an opportunity but sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to,” said Pierce. “Would’ve loved to have been here last year but I had a chance to go to Washington, that was a great experience for me and I think things happen for a reason. And I think this is the right timing, perfect opportunity here today and I’m glad to say I’m a Clipper today.”
- Jeremy Woo