Pierce brings leadership to up-and-coming Wizards

(AP) — Paul Pierce is on the move for the second straight summer, this time from Brooklyn to the Washington Wizards.

Pierce has agreed to a two-year contract with the Wizards. 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 former Celtics small forward will likely start for the Wizards, who lost small forward Trevor Ariza to the Houston Rockets. Pierce averaged a career-low 13.5 points per game last season, in his first year with the Nets after 15 years with the Boston Celtics, but will bring some valuable veteran leadership and playoff experience to a young and up-and-coming team.

The 2010 first overall pick, John Wall, had an all-star campaign for the Wizards in 2014, collecting 19.3 points and leading the league in total assists. Meanwhile, 21-year-old shooting guard Bradley Beal had a break out season and has established himself as one of the league’s more reliable three-point shooters.

Kevin Garnett still has one more year remaining on his contract with the Nets, but it remains unclear whether or not the 38-year-old will return for his 20th season. Meanwhile, free agent Ray Allen has drawn interest from the Cavaliers, who signed Lebron James earlier this week.

The trade last June that sent Pierce and Garnett, along with Jason Terry, to the Nets, has paid great dividends for Danny Ainge’s team. The Celtics acquired the Net’s 2014 first round pick, which they used to select James Young out of Kentucky. They are still owed Brooklyn’s first round picks in 2016 and 2018, and have the right to swap picks with the Nets in 2017.

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