Following the Wizards’ loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Paul Pierce seemed disillusioned with basketball.
“Truthfully, what was going through my mind is, I don’t have too much of these efforts left, if any,” Pierce said. “These rides throughout the NBA season, throughout the playoffs, are very emotional. They take a lot out of not only your body, but your mind, your spirit … . I don’t even know if I’m going to play basketball anymore.”
However, with $5.5 million still remaining on his contract, retirement is not a likely scenario for the longtime Celtic. Instead, speculation abounds that Pierce will opt out of his deal and rejoin coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles with the Clippers. To add further motivation for a potential move, Pierce grew up in the Los Angeles area in Iglewood, California.
“Washington’s main issue is complacency,” NBA.com columnist David Aldridge wrote Monday. “The Wizards could stand pat if Pierce decides to return to D.C. next season rather than opt out of his deal, but many around the league believe Pierce will do just that and finish his career back home in Los Angeles with the Clippers.”
Aldridge argued that the Wizards are content to begin their search for Pierce’s long-term replacement at the small forward position. With John Wall and Bradley Beal locked in as the backcourt of the future, Washington has the chance to develop youngster Otto Porter Jr. or pursue another option in a trade.
Meanwhile, the Clippers would be more than enthused to get Pierce this offseason, especially after watching Matt Barnes shoot a horrendous .267 percent from beyond the arc this postseason. If Pierce does decide to leave Washington and put off retirement, the Clippers would seem to be the perfect destination.