Report: Wizards signed Pierce to free space for Durant

July 13, 3:04 PM

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The ink on LeBron James' new contract barely had time to dry before the chase for the next big free agent began. 

The Washington Wizards dipped their toe into the free agent pool on Saturday, signing forward Paul Pierce to a two-year, $11-million deal while letting Trevor Ariza leave to make $8 million per year in Houston over the next four years. 

The reason for the switch reportedly has less to do with the current Wizards' roster than it does giving the team a shot at landing the big prize in 2016, Kevin Durant. 

The Wizards reportedly opted for Pierce due to the shorter contract length, meaning he will come off the books right as Durant becomes available. According to CSN Washington, the hiring of Durant's high school coach David Adkins, along with the expiring contracts of Pierce and Nene in 2016 point to the Wiz gearing up to bring the Washington, D.C. native back home. 

After watching LeBron pen a love letter to his hometown upon returning the Cleveland, it's hard to blame the Wizards for making a local pitch for the reigning MVP. 

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Geoff Burke