The Player: Paul Pierce
The Team: Washington Wizards
The Contract: 2 years, $11 million; player option for second year
How does it affect the cap situation?
Pierce will squeeze into the mid-level exception. ShamSports currently has the Wizards sitting at a whopping $87.586 million in salaries and cap holds, but this will need some adjusting.
Trevor Ariza is now a member of the Houston Rockets, so I backed out his massive cap hold. Pierce’s salary was not included, so I added him in. Still, this $81.495 million in salaries and holds is a bit deceiving.
Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker currently combine for a cap hold of almost $13 million. We don’t know exactly what Washington’s plans are for both players, but this $13 million hold will likely end up being too high. Booker in particular is already rumored to be on his way out the door, and the Wizards are working on acquiring DeJuan Blair from the Mavericks.
Regardless, the Wizards are over the $63.2 million salary cap.
How does it affect the luxury tax?
Between Gortat and Pierce, most of the heavy lifting is likely already done. In other words, I’m not expecting the Wizards to pass the $77 million luxury tax threshold this season.
However, it is important to note that the Wizards now possess an $8.5 million trade exception, which could come in handy if they choose to add salary during the season and still avoid the tax. The exception will expire if Washington doesn’t make a move like this, but it’s important to note.
In a weak Eastern Conference, maybe Washington management decides during the season that it’s now or never. If they want to add a pricey piece in a trade, proper maneuvering would help them make the deal and avoid the tax. Trade exceptions can be quite valuable.
Adding a backup big man would be nice. Old timers Al Harrington and Drew Gooden could come back, but the Wizards might look to get a little younger in the front court. (This is probably where Blair comes in.) A veteran backup wing could also be in the cards, as the Wizards will likely want to manage Pierce’s workload during the regular season.