LAS VEGAS -- The Washington Wizards signed free agent Paul Pierce to take over the small forward position just hours after losing Trevor Ariza to the Houston Rockets.
A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed with CSNwashington.com that Pierce will join Washington on a two-year deal for the mid-level exception.
Ariza was the lone player on the roster last season with a championship ring. Now Pierce, 36, inherits that distinction and likely the starting 3-man spot.
Pierce, who played with Brooklyn last season, turns 37 in October. The two-year deal would expire in 2016, the summer Oklahoma City Thunder star and D.C. area native Kevin Durant becomes a free agent.
The 16-year veteran would receive between $10-11 million over two years, though he has a player option for the second season according to reports.
The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 13.5 points in 75 games - including 68 starts - with the Nets last season after spending the majority of his career with Boston. The Celtics won the NBA title with Pierce in 2008.
Pierce remains an effective perimeter threat with enough power to score inside. Perhaps most of all, he brings oodles of leadership and winning knowhow to a roster headlined by young guards John Wall and Bradley Beal that reached the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs this past season.
Otto Porter and Martell Webster are the other small forwards on the roster. Porter is coming off a limited rookie season while Webster underwent back surgery last month and could miss the start of the regular season. That pair would still have potential for sizable roles. Pierce averaged a career-low 28 minutes per game last season.
ESPN's Marc Stein first reported the signing.