Paul Pierce will opt out of his contract with the Washington Wizards and become a free agent, according to the Players' Tribune.
Pierce, 37, averaged 11.9 points and four rebounds per game for the Wizards last season, making a major impact in the playoffs as part of Washington's run to the Eastern Conference semifinals. He's discussed retirement but has decided to play next year at the least.
Reports earlier this week indicated the Wizards organization believed Pierce would remain in D.C., with opting out and re-signing for additional money a possibility. Washington would, at present, be able to pay him more than the Los Angeles Clippers, who have been widely linked as a suitor for the veteran forward. Pierce still enjoys a relationship with Clippers coach Doc Rivers, under whom he won a title with Boston in 2008.
Speaking of Boston, the Celtics have also been tied to Pierce, who according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski also have designs on bringing in free agents to-be Kevin Love from Cleveland and Portland's Robin Lopez. Wojnarowski reported that a successful pitch to Love could help entice Pierce to return to Boston, where he spent the first 15 seasons of his career.
Sources: Clips offering bench guys to gain trade exception to pay Pierce, but If Celts could get Love - Pierce is in play for Boston return.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 24, 2015
The Wizards selected small forward Kelly Oubre out of Kansas in the first round of Thursday's draft, who could become Pierce's mentee or effectively a replacement, pending the veteran's decision.
- Jeremy Woo