Here we go again.
Rumors suggesting Paul Pierce to the Los Angeles Clippers have resurfaced. Like threats of the Purple Line becoming a possibility for Metro riders or a Guns & Roses reunion that involves Axl Rose and Slash, the idea that the Wizards forward could join the Clippers now surfaces every year.
The latest mention occurred Monday via NBA.com's David Aldridge, who examined needs and upcoming decisions facing teams next season. Aldridge wrote the following in the section on the Wizards:
The Wizards could stand pat if Pierce decides to return to D.C. next season rather than opt out of his deal, but many around the league believe Pierce will do just that and finish his career back home in Los Angeles with the Clippers.
Pierce, 37, signed a two-year deal with the Wizards last summer with a player option for the 2015-16 season. As the year progressed, he expressed optimism about his season in Washington, both on and off the court.
Minutes after the Wizards heartbreaking series loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs earlier this month, Pierce's initial statements centered on debating whether he wanted to play anymore. There was no clear mention of joining the Clippers (or staying with the Wizards, for that matter).
Those were his last public words on the topic. The future Hall of Famer did not speak with media during breakdown day on May 19.
Free agency officially opens July 1. Presumably, Pierce would let the Wizards know whether he intends to opt into or out of his contract days before. As of last week, the organization hadn't heard anything specific.
— J. Michael (@JMichaelCSN) May 25, 2015
None of this is to suggest that the idea of Pierce signing with the Clippers is without merit.
For starters, he grew up in Los Angeles. Doc Rivers, Pierce's former head coach with the Boston Celtics, holds the same position with the Western Conference power. The belief around the league last year had this marriage taking place. Ultimately, the Clippers spent their dowry dollars elsewhere and Pierce hooked up with the Wizards.
He'll make $5.5 million next season if he stays in Washington. Los Angeles might not have that kind of money available.
Pierce isn't suiting up for anyone pro bono, but ultimately he's mostly after another ring. Arguably, his best bet between the two sides might be out West.
Los Angeles finished second in the tough Western Conference this season and led Houston 3-1 in the semifinal round before falling apart. Pierce's veteran swagger added to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin might be the missing piece.
Then again, the suspect Eastern Conference currently offers more hope for a title run. Maybe the Wizards get there this season with an extra second on the clock in Game 6 against the Hawks. Maybe they advance next season with Pierce plus progress from John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Surely, all of this is on Pierce's mind. Surely this won't be the last we hear of him possibly joining the Clippers. The train has left the station. Welcome to the Jungle.