“A lot of teams are interested in me, like the Lakers or the Celtics,” said Pietrus. “This came from the best player in the world: Kobe Bryant. He told me two months ago that he would like to see me with the Lakers.”
Trading for Pietrus would fulfill the plan I have advocated since day one. The Celtics could sign-and-trade either Glen Davis or Jeff Green to Phoenix, freeing themselves from committing long-term money to an average player (assuming, you know, that Phoenix wants Davis or Green). Pietrus would then come to Boston, where he would presumably help for a season (if that season even exists). After the season his contract would expire, leaving the Celtics with all the cap space they have worked so hard to create. Perfection.
Meanwhile, all of this Pietrus talk reminds me:
Certain players bring me to my knees with a debilitating, but sometimes irrational, fear.
When Jason Maxiell was in his (admittedly short-lived) prime, I was positive he would destroy my Celtics every night. I don’t know his stats against the Celtics during that period. My only evidence is my memory, which tells me that Maxiell was an Incredible Hulk who dunked against the Celtics every single time he touched the basketball.
John Salmons entered a similar zone during the 2009 playoffs. Rationality told me Salmons would miss approximately 60% of his shots. My fears told me he would miss one out of one hundred, if my Celtics were lucky. Other players rest in that zone more permanently. Derek Fisher could be 85 years old, but if his wrinkly body releases a three-pointer during a playoff game, I will still know it’s going in.
Mickael Pietrus inspires the same fear, and in his case that fear is not irrational—at least not entirely. In 14 games against the Celtics, he has shot 42.9% from the three-point arc. In my memory, many of those trifectas came from the corner, with a defender draped all over him, the score tied, and Pietrus fading away from the basket to get barely an inch of separation. Swish. My memory could be slightly misleading, but if it is, Pietrus made it that way. He hit shots against the Celtics and he hit big shots. His threes halted Boston’s runs and kept Orlando’s runs going.
Pietrus doesn’t play quite as well against every other team, but he can shoot (he has shot 35.9% or better from three for the past five years). That he also defends reasonably well (at least by reputation) makes me think Pietrus would fit admirably in Boston. He knows his role, he has played for defensive-minded teams before, he has played along stars, and he plays well coming off the bench. If the Celtics do trade for him, I’m on board.