Pierce inked a two-year, $11 million deal which includes a player option for Year 2 with the Wizards.
"Truthfully, I thought I was going to end up back in Brooklyn, with Kevin [Garnett]. I told Kevin, if you're not going to retire, then I probably will come back. But when Brooklyn didn't give me an offer, it was like, I talked to him, and I kind of started looking at my options then," Pierce told NBA.com.
Nets general manager Billy King explained why the team didn't try to retain Pierce in a recent interview with reporters. The team already had several power forwards on its roster and Pierce would've cost an additional $20 million in luxury taxes.
The Nets spent $197 million in payroll and luxury taxes last season, but have cut that number to approximately a projected $130 million going into the season.
"Brooklyn's been, or New Jersey, Brooklyn, they're a franchise that's going in a different direction, I think," Pierce told NBA.com. "They said they wanted to cut costs, they felt like they weren't going to be a contender. Right now, they're kind of in the middle right now. And I really didn't want to be in the middle. I didn't know if they wanted to do a sign-and-trade. I had to make my own destiny. I couldn't put it in the faith of somebody else. And that's when I was like, I'm coming here."
King on Tuesday denied Pierce's claims that the Nets aren't trying to win this season.
"Our goal is still to try to win a championship." King said. "We're not taking steps back or anything like that."
The Nets will miss Pierce's veteran presence, defense and shot-making ability. They are going bigger this season under new coach Lionel Hollins, starting Kevin Garnett at power forward instead of center with 7-footer Brook Lopez coming back from foot and ankle surgery.