Sources close to the process told ESPN.com on Saturday that Pierce has committed to sign a two-year, $11 million deal with the Wizards, who moved swiftly to find a title-tested replacement for Trevor Ariza after Ariza struck an agreement earlier in the day to join the Houston Rockets.
The contract, sources said, has a player option after this season that will allow Pierce, 36, to return to free agency next summer if he chooses.
The short-term nature of the deal, meanwhile, could help Washington preserve some flexibility for its dream scenario of pursuing DC native Kevin Durant when the current Oklahoma City Thunder star is scheduled to be a free agent in the summer of 2016.
The Nets gave up a slew of first-round picks to acquire Pierce and Kevin Garnett from the Boston Celtics in July 2013, but now Pierce and coach Jason Kidd are gone in Brooklyn. That will raise questions about the future of Garnett, whom the Nets expected to return next season at age 38 but who now has lost the two people in the organization to whom he’s closest.
Kidd left Brooklyn to become the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Pierce, an unrestricted free agent, also drew interest from the Dallas Mavericks, Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers — among other teams — before deciding to join the up-and-coming Wizards. He averaged 13.5 points in 28.0 minutes per game last season, while posting a Player Efficiency Rating of 16.8. All three totals were career-lows.
Representatives for Carmelo Anthony are presently in negotiations on a contract that will bring him back to the New York Knicks, sources tell ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
The Chicago Bulls and the Houston Rocketshave been told by Anthony’s representatives to move on, the sources said.
Knicks president Phil Jackson said Thursday that he hadn’t heard from Anthony in recent days but remained confident the All-Star forward would re-sign with the Knicks. Jackson said the Knicks have made five different contract offers to Anthony, one of which is believed to be a maximum deal of $129 million over five years.
Knicks coach Derek Fisher seemed to be on the same page as Jackson.
“I haven’t heard anything different than that,” Fisher said Friday after the Knicks started Las Vegas Summer League play with a 76-64 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. “We talked all this week about the fact that it’s not our decision.”
The first-time coach stressed that point.
“Decisions as free agents are never as easy as they seem,” he said. “A lot of focus is on the contract size or the amount of money and the years, but oftentimes, guys are thinking on a much larger level.
“It’s not just about basketball. Guys have wives, families, kids. Moving is tough.”
The Bulls had moved Anthony down on their priority list as recently as Friday, as sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that the Bulls were prioritizing their pursuit of free-agent forward Pau Gasol even ahead of their long-running efforts to sign Anthony, fearing that Anthony was likely to stay with the Knicks. Gasol and the Bulls are closing in on a deal, according to the Spanish newspaper Marca and other media reports.
The Knicks, whose maximum offer to Anthony would have a first-year salary of $22.5 million, hadn’t shown any interest in participating in a sign-and-trade with Chicago as of late Friday night.
Eminem took over Wembley Stadium in London to become the first rapper ever to headline a show there. During his set, he brought out a surprise guest Dr. Dre to perform Still D.R.E., Next Episode, Nuthin But A G Thang and Forgot About Dre.
Rare Throwback Footage of Live Performance at V103 of Money Ain’t A Thang. Also JD introduces his New Artist name Bow Wow.