The 2014-15 season will be the 17th in the NBA for Paul Pierce. (Elsa / Getty Images)
Paul Pierce turns 37 in October and isn’t quite the offensive force he was when he was leading the Boston Celtics to the championship seven years ago.
The old man showed last year in Brooklyn that he still knows how to knock down a clutch shot and grind out a playoff series victory, which made the up-and-coming Washington Wizards eager to add the man known as “The Truth.”
Pierce and the Wizards agreed to terms on a two-year deal on Saturday night, a person with knowledge of the agreement told the Associated Press. The deal is for the mid-level exception, which is about $5.3 million for next season, and includes a player option in the second year of the contract. The person requested anonymity because the Wizards have not officially announced the signing.
After spending the first 15 seasons of his career in Boston, Pierce is on the move for the second straight summer in a deal first reported by ESPN, and the Wizards couldn’t be happier.
Wall and Bradley Beal have formed one of the most exciting young backcourts in the league, and they helped the surprising Wizards to their first playoff series victory since 2005. Looking to build on that momentum, the Wizards have already brought back coach Randy Wittman, signed center Marcin Gortat to a five-year, $60 million and brought back veteran point guard Andre Miller.
One player it appears they weren’t able to retain is swingman Trevor Ariza, who agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal with the Houston Rockets, according to several reports, including USA Today.
It didn’t take long for the Wizards to rebound. Now those “Wiz kids” have another big brother to help show them how to take the next step.
Pierce averaged a career-low 13.5 points last season in his first year with the Nets. But he is a 10-time All-Star who has gained a reputation as one of the best big-moment players in the league.
Pierce doesn’t have a game that relies on extreme athleticism or quickness. It’s predicated more on instincts and an ability to initiate contact to create space to get off that trademark high-arching jump shot, which should allow him to remain effective longer than other players who lose some of the juice in their legs as they get older.
“I would like welcome Paul Pierce to The Wizards family. We’re going to have a great run,” Gortat tweeted. “It’s going to be an honor to play with such an amazing player.”
Lakers get Lin in trade
Jeremy Lin joined the Lakers on Sunday in a trade with the Houston Rockets, who also gave up first- and second-round draft picks in 2015 for the rights to European center Sergei Lishchuk.
Lin will make about $15 million this season in the last year of a deal that counts only $8 million against the salary cap. The Lakers have the cap room to absorb Lin’s contract.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak says the trade allows the team to acquire a solid player and two draft picks while maintaining financial flexibility.
Lin averaged 12.5 points and 4.1 assists last season, but lost his starting job because coach Kevin McHale preferred Patrick Beverley’s defensive play.
Lin was born in Los Angeles and figures to be popular with the region’s large Asian community. He was raised in Northern California and played four years at Harvard.
Deng gets $20 from Heat
Free agent forward Luol Deng agreed Sunday to a $20 million, two-year deal with the Miami Heat, said Herb Rudoy, one of Deng’s agents.
The deal includes a player option for the 2015-16 season, Rudoy said.
Deng is entering his 11th NBA season, having spent almost his entire career with the Chicago Bulls. He appeared in 40 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers after a trade last season. He fills a need in Miami, which lost LeBron James last week after the four-time NBA MVP said he would leave the Heat after four seasons and return to the Cavaliers.