Paul Pierce offered a different account of events that led to his signing with the Washington Wizards today while adding in some not-so-lofty expectations for his former team.
In an interview with David Aldridge of NBA.com, Pierce suggested that the Brooklyn Nets did not exactly put out the welcome mat for his return despite The Truth’s willingness to resign with the team.
Truthfully, I thought I was going to end up back in Brooklyn, with Kevin [Garnett]. I told Kevin, if you’re not going to retire, then I probably will come back. But when Brooklyn didn’t give me an offer, it was like, I talked to him, and I kind of started looking at my options then.
In response to a question about a lack of effort by Brooklyn to work a sign and trade with The Clippers, Pierce again cited his surprise by Brooklyn’s lack of interest and offered more on the team’s expectations this season.
Brooklyn’s been, or New Jersey, Brooklyn, they’re a franchise that’s going in a different direction, I think. They said they wanted to cut costs, they felt like they weren’t going to be a contender. Right now, they’re kind of in the middle right now. And I really didn’t want to be in the middle.
Pierce’s account differs quite a bit from General Manager Billy King’s interpretation of events. Late last month King suggested that from the onset of free agency Pierce seemed interested in signing elsewhere. This forced The Nets to pursue another route ultimately signing Euro-stash Bojan Bogdonavic and trading for combo guard Jarret Jack and swingman Sergey Karasev.
Whatever the truth (not Truth) is there is no denying bring back Pierce would’ve cost The Nets far more than the 2 year, $11 million contract he received from the Wizards. Repeater tax provisions included in the last collective bargaining agreement would have cost The Nets $22 million or roughly the same salary as LeBron James.
Costs aside, Pierce’s comments suggest that The Truth may be a little extra motivated when he returns to Barclays on January 17th.