The Los Angeles Clippers appear to be signing veteran small forward Paul Pierce, reuniting him with his former Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
Marc Stein tweeted that the signing was on the brink:
Hearing Clippers are on the brink of signing Paul Pierce— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 1, 2015
Meanwhile Dan Woike of the OC Register said Pierce had agreed:
#Clippers have agreed to a deal with Paul Pierce, per NBA source— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 1, 2015
The details of the deal will emerge shortly, but it is almost certainly for the mini Mid Level Exception and three seasons. At about $3.36M per season that's a 3yr/$10M contract. Pierce's last team, the Washington Wizards, offered him $6.6M with a team option for a second season, which means that Pierce would be taking about half as much per season to join the Clippers, but what could be more guaranteed money depending upon the details of the contract.
UPDATE: It looks like the deal is indeed 3yr/$10M, but the third year is a team option. So the first two years make up about $6.7M, a little more guaranteed money than the Wizards were offering.
Pierce is a 10 time All Star, an NBA Champion, and a future Hall of Famer. He's also an L.A. native, having attended Inglewood High -- over 20 years ago! The obvious downside is that he'll be 38 before the season starts, but he was still effective in starting every game for the Wizards last season -- and if you didn't believe in the importance of playoff experience, Pierce probably made you believe in it last May when he made a game winner for the Wizards and missed out on another by a fraction of a second.
As of now, he slots into the Clippers starting small forward position vacated by Matt Barnes, allowing Rivers to bring the newly acquired Lance Stephenson off the bench. Pierce's regular season minutes will need to be kept to a minimum -- but it will be worth it if he can make contributions in the post-season.
Beyond the signing itself, this is probably a very good omen for the Clippers. If Pierce is agreeing to a deal, it means that he believes that DeAndre Jordan isn't going anywhere. Which means that Doc Rivers believes that Jordan isn't going anywhere and told Pierce as much. Doc can be very persuasive and whatever he said to Pierce convinced him. You never know until the contract are signed of course (and let's all remember that none of these contracts are going to be signed before next week anyway) -- but this signing almost certainly means that Jordan will remain in Lob City where he belongs.
It's a great signing, but don't plan the parade route quite yet. Having used the mMLE to get Pierce, the Clippers are down to minimum deals to somehow create a bench. Even penciling in Glen Davis and Austin Rivers (and what was his tweet about today, anyway?) the team could still use some help. But Pierce was the best early signing they could have hoped for, so it's a great start to free agency.