Shockwaves were sent throughout the NBA late Saturday night when reports came out indicating that Paul Pierce had agreed to join the Wizards.
On the same day the team learned that Trevor Ariza would be signing with Houston, by nightfall a contingency plan was already secured as the 16-year veteran sent out this tweet:
Obama , J Wall here I come— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) July 13, 2014
Some of his soon-to-be teammates sent out their thoughts:
The Truth !!— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) July 13, 2014
I would like welcome Paul Pierce to The Wizards family. Were going to have a great run.— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) July 13, 2014
Its going to be an honor to play with such an amazing player.— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) July 13, 2014
They seem to be excited.
And so they should be. Pierce is a 10x NBA all-star swingman who brings with him a load of experience. He's about as battle-tested as anyone in the league, has won an NBA title (2008 with Celtics), was Finals MVP, and played in 148 playoff games. He's a guy who's averaged 21.3 points per game over his illustrious career and will one day have a plaque in Springfield in the Basketball Hall-of-Fame.
Is he the same player he was in his prime? No. But he doesn't need to be the #1 option like he was in Boston for all those years. Last year, his minutes per game (28.0) and points per game (13.5) dropped drastically from his career numbers, but he had a much different role in Brooklyn. He became more of complimentary player, which he'll now be able to do in Washington at this point in his career.
What could be even more telling was that he picked the Wizards to likely finish his career. There were other contenders vying for his services, but it sends a message that he would choose Washington. The message being that he thinks the Wizards are ready to win and compete at the highest level. It also could start a trend of free-agents looking at Washington as a "destination" city with a chance to win.
This is a big get for the Wizards. There's no other way to put it. Pierce is a pro's pro, a guy that will fit right into the locker room and be another veteran voice to help guide some of the young stars on this team.
He's never been the most athletic guy on the court, but has always found ways to score with great footwork and knows all the tricks to get buckets, especially in crunch time. He's a guy the team can depend on and use in late-game situations to take big shots, something they lacked at certain times last year.
Pierce will likely compete for the starting "3" spot, which became vacant once it was learned that Ariza would be leaving town. With Martell Webster rehabbing a back injury and Otto Porter still developing, Pierce could very well be the perfect fit for this team at this time.
On behalf of all Wizards fans, welcome Paul! Can't wait to see you in a Wizards jersey next season!