Paul Pierce opts out of contract with Wizards, is now a free agent

According to the Players Tribune, Paul Pierce has decided to opt out of his contract with the Washington Wizards and become a free agent.

The Wizards had believed he would remain in D.C., and there is still a possibility that he may, but with his old coach Doc Rivers and the L.A. Clippers reportedly interested, as well as his old team the Boston Celtics, the opt-out could very well mean he's on his way to a new team.

Wahington selected small forward Kelly Oubre out of Kansas in the first round of Thursday's draft, likely to be Pierce's replacement should he not return. Meanwhile the Celtics swung hard and missed on completing a deal to obtain swingman Justise Winslow, and still could use some help at the small forward position.

One thing is for sure, if Danny Ainge wants to quickly change the tune of Boston fans upset with his moves (or lack thereof) on draft night, talking Pierce into re-signing with the Celtics is a step in the right direction. The problem for Ainge is it's highly unlikely he's able to do that without making some sort of big name free agent acquisition or acquiring an All-Star caliber player via trade to entice Pierce into returning to Boston.

Pierce is 37 years old, and was a huge part of the Wizards' success in the playoffs up until their elimination by the Atlanta Hawks. He likely has no interest in playing out his swan song season with a Celtics team that at the moment isn't a threat to go far in the postseason.

The pressure is on Ainge after a disappointing draft night, and one that didn't provide many answers as to what the Celtics plans moving forward are. If anything, it created more questions.

Ainge will need to reign in some top tier talent if he plans to persuade Pierce to re-join the Celtics. So for now, it's best to leave those #34 jerseys in the closet and wait things out. July 1st is the first day players will be able to begin negotiations with teams. However, a player cannot officially sign a contract until July 8th.

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