In a Q. and A. with David Aldridge, Paul Pierce says he thought he would be back with the Nets but when time came for the two sides to lay it on the table, the Nets didn't make him an offer, adding that the team's priorities were about saving money, not winning.
"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."
He also admits the Clippers weren't that interested in him either.
"I thought I probably would end up with the Clippers with Doc [Rivers], but they wound up signing Spencer Hawes [and using the full mid-level exception] at the time."
Nets insiders say it's more accurate to say that they didn't make Pierce a counter offer last summer, that he initially wanted $20 million over two years. He would have accepted less but ultimately, they weren't interested in re-signing him, calling it "a basketball decision" rather than a business decision. Not re-signing Pierce certainly saved the Nets a lot of money, about $20 million in salary and luxury taxes, but they also argue that Pierce can no longer guard the three. That's a big reason he was moved to the four. And they contend they have enough players up front with Brook Lopez back.
Pierce thought it was more about business, telling Aldridge...
"I didn't know what to expect. 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."
At that point, he said he decided to take a look at the Wizards, where he signed a two-year, $10 million deal. Whether the Nets are going to be "in the middle" will take a while to sort out. At this point, the front office doesn't seem to regret its decision.
- Q & A: Paul Pierce - David Aldridge - NBA.com
- Paul Pierce of Washington Wizards said the Brooklyn Nets did not make him an offer - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Former Net Paul Pierce calls ex-team ‘New Jersey,’ says Brooklyn didn’t make him an offer to return - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Paul Pierce: Nets never offered a deal - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Pierce: Brooklyn didn't give me an offer - Ryan Carbain - The Brooklyn Game
Paul Pierce says the Nets are on the decline - Brian Erni - SNY Nets