After showing great improvement last season, finishing with a record of 44-38 and taking down the Chicago Bulls in five games in the first round of the postseason (they were defeated by the Indiana Pacers in six games in the second round), the Washington Wizards entered the offseason with two major goals, re-signing center Marcin Gortat and swingman Trevor Ariza.
The Wizards quickly inked Gortat to a five-year, $60 million deal but lost Ariza to the Houston Rockets on a four-year, $32 million deal. However, they quickly rebounded, signing future Hall-of-Fame swingmn Paul Pierce. They also added veteran big man Kris Humphries and traded for another veteran big, DeJaun Blair.
Jessica Camerato believes the Wizards have “quietly improved” and thinks the signing of Pierce will make a huge difference both on and off of the court.
Critics have been calling Pierce “old” for numerous seasons now. Over the course of his 16-year career, he has repeatedly silenced the naysayers by coming up big in high-pressure playoff situations. “He will be a good fit alongside our young, dynamic backcourt while his presence and leadership will make a difference for us both on and off the court,” said Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld. Pierce will turn 37 in October. While his days of playing 30-plus minutes a game may be coming to an end, the 2008 championship-winner will look to give the Wizards a spark in his new role. Besides, he’s not ready to hang up his sneakers yet.
It looked like losing Ariza would be a huge blow but by adding Pierce, they certainly upgraded in terms of leadership of experience.
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