Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King confirmed rumors that the Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers had discussed potential sign-and-trade talks involving free agent Paul Pierce. However, King explained that even though they had started conversations, they didn’t go far and the Nets were negotiating a deal with Pierce to keep him for themselves.
“They made a call and inquired, but there’s nothing at this point that makes sense for us,” King said on ESPN Radio on Thursday night.
“I think we’re in the process,” King said. “We know the number we want to get to, I think they know the number they want to get to. We’re just trying to get to the point where we’re all comfortable and I know what we’re trying to accomplish, and it’s just in the negotiation process. That’s all it is.
“We have the ability to pay him more than everybody else, but we are going to be a little bit more financially responsible at this point in time.”
According to reports, the Clippers can only afford to offer Pierce around $5 million under the salary cap rules while the Nets could retain him at around $10-$12 million. So it’s in Pierce’s best interest, if he wanted to reunite with his former coach Doc Rivers and play for the Clippers, would be to sign a deal with the Nets and work out a trade as it would earn him an extra $5-$7 million.
Ian Eagle briefly discussed the idea with CBS Sports (hat tip to NetsDaily.com) that the Nets would like to get younger while maintaining the Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson core (as if they have much choice to break it up). That would best be served by dealing Pierce, but their thinking is likely that if they aren’t going to upgrade the team by dealing him, why not just keep him for themselves?