Clippers reportedly could be a top option for Paul Pierce

Clippers reportedly could be a top option for Paul Pierce
Washington Wizards small forward Paul Pierce looks to shoot during a playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks on May 15. (Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

Paul Pierce will play next season but he is expected to forgo his player option with the Washington Wizards valued at $5.54 million, according to the Washington Post.

The newspaper said that if Paul doesn't return to Washington, his most likely destination would be the Clippers. Pierce played under Clippers Coach Doc Rivers for nine seasons with the Boston Celtics, and the small forward is from Los Angeles and attended Inglewood High.

Pierce would likely take a $2-million salary cut if he chose to play for the Clippers, who have limited salary cap flexibility and would probably only be able to offer Pierce the taxpayer mid-level exception of $3.37 million for next season.

The Clippers came close to signing Pierce, 38, last season, but Rivers gave the team's mid-level exception to power forward/center Spencer Hawes. The team traded Hawes and starting small forward Matt Barnes on Monday in exchange for Charlotte Hornets' shooting guard Lance Stephenson.

The team now has a hole at the starting small forward position if the Clippers choose to use Stephenson as a reserve.

Pierce averaged a career-low in points (11.9) and rebounds (four) during the regular season in 2014-15, but he provided the team with great leadership and he had a strong postseason.

During the playoffs, he averaged 14.6 points on 48.5% shooting and 4.2 rebounds a game. He also made the game-winning shot at the buzzer against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Twitter: @melissarohlin