Pierce and Rivers won an
The Clippers will sign Pierce with their so-called mini-midlevel exception, their primary financial tool in free agency, and are expected to slot the former Inglewood High star into the starting small forward spot vacated by Matt Barnes when he was traded last month.
Players cannot sign contracts until the league-mandated moratorium on formal commitments ends July 9. Pierce's contract calls for him to make $3.37 million next season, $3.57 million in 2016-17 and $3.67 million in 2017-18, with the final year being a team option. That's roughly half the amount per year Pierce could have made with the
The deal represents a massive triumph for Rivers, who has been widely maligned in his role as the Clippers' president of basketball operations. Rivers tried to persuade Pierce to join the Clippers last summer before committing the team's midlevel exception to
Pierce, who turns 38 in October, is a 17-year veteran and 10-time All-Star who gives the Clippers some championship experience in their starting lineup and a clutch presence who hit a game-winning shot in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season for the Wizards.
The only potential concern about Pierce is his durability; he has logged 50,446 minutes in his career, including the playoffs, and averaged only 26.2 minutes per game last season to go with career-low averages in points (11.9), rebounds (4.0) and assists (2.0). But the Clippers won't need Pierce to carry the offensive load in a lineup that will include All-Stars
Pierce's presence could help the Clippers make a compelling presentation to Jordan after the NBA's leading rebounder was wowed by the
The Clippers lost one potential replacement for Jordan on Wednesday when
The Clippers were expected to engage the Mavericks in a sign-and-trade swap of centers involving Chandler had Jordan decided to sign with the Mavericks.
Clippers executives embarked on the process of bolstering their bench by reaching out to representatives for free-agent swingmen Gerald Green, Wes Johnson and
As expected, the Clippers fully guaranteed Jamal Crawford's $5.6-million contract for next season, though the team could trade the star sixth man as it tries to fill holes at backup point guard, power forward and center.