Suggestions move gives Wizards long-term flexibility to entice Durant in 2016.
Paul Pierce has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Washington Wizards after a short and ultimately unsuccessful stint with the Brooklyn Nets.
Having left the Boston Celtics to move to the Barclays Center last season, Pierce and long-time team-mate Kevin Garnett arrived in a trade deal that signalled the Nets were a genuine contender.
Along with the likes of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez they formed a formidable line-up, but injuries and lack of form and confidence under rookie coach Jason Kidd led to a disappointing second-round playoff exit.
While Kidd has now moved on to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a reshuffle at the organisation, Pierce is the latest star name to seek a new challenge elsewhere, and he will now take his experience to the capital to help the Wizards improve.
Obama , J Wall here I come
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) July 13, 2014
The 36-year-old can return to free agency next summer if he chooses to do so, and while it is a significant move for Washington who will look to pair experience with youth in point guard John Wall and Bradley Beal, it is also viewed as a long-term cap-saving strategy.
The short-term nature of the deal will effectively allow the Wizards to maintain some flexibility in pursuing DC native and current Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant.
Durant is scheduled to become a free agent in 2016, and the possibility of following in LeBron James footsteps by returning home at that stage in his career could be enticing, particularly if he is unable to achieve his ambition with the Thunder.
Meanwhile, in a more short-term outlook, the Nets reportedly still expect Garnett to return for the final year of his contract although given the departures of Kidd and Pierce, it remains to be seen whether or not he still wants to be there.
Pierce averaged 13.5 points in 28.0 minutes per game last season, and although he wasn’t as efficient as he has perhaps been in recent years, his ability to be a game-winner has not wavered and he will provide a significant boost for the Wizards next season.