Mickael Pietrus, who was waived yesterday and has a swollen knee that resulted in a failed physical exam earlier this offseason, is reportedly “leaning heavily” toward signing with the Boston Celtics. (CSNNE)
Mickael Pietrus, recently released by the Phoenix Suns, is leaning “heavily” towards signing with the Boston Celtics, according to a league source.
Pietrus must first clear waivers — that won’t happen until 6 p.m. Saturday — but it’s highly unlikely that any team will want to pick up the $5.3 million he is owed this season. …
His agent, Bill McCandless, would not say whether Pietrus would sign with the C’s.
However, he did tell CSNNE.com that the C’s would be on his short list of teams if he cleared waivers.
“He’s only 29, so he’s not like Charles Barkley or some other older players running around, chasing a championship,” McCandless said. “But he wants to be with a playoff team, and have a chance to contribute.”
Ordinarily, adding a stand-still shooter like Pietrus would not be ideal for a team starved for bench playmaking. People who remember all the times Pietrus drilled clutch triples for Orlando will probably disregard this next thought, but the Frenchman is nothing more than a rich man’s Sasha Pavlovic — both are tall, athletic, long small forwards who tend to sit on their thumbs rather than make legitimate offensive plays. But considering that Boston has only the veteran’s minimum to spend, precious few difference-making free agents remain on the market, and Pavlovic is two days away from playing a significant role in Boston’s season opener, these aren’t ordinary times.
Pietrus is admittedly far better than Pavlovic and a more explosive scorer — just like most guys who have ever played in the NBA — which is exactly why the Celtics probably called his agent the second Pietrus was waived. Not only would Pietrus solve the Pavlovic problem (if Paul Pierce remains injured or Marquis Daniels gets injured at any point this season, Doc Rivers will have no choice but to rely on Pavlovic), his versatility would also give the Celtics another option at shooting guard, where Avery Bradley and E’Twaun Moore surely do not strike fear into the hearts of Erik Spoelstra or Tom Thibodeau. That’s not to say Pietrus would strike fear into their hearts either, but he’s a young-ish (29), defensive-minded, athletic veteran who has played a role on several playoff teams and always seemed to drill big shots against the Celtics. He’s not perfect, but — if healthy — he would instantly upgrade two positions on Boston’s bench.
For the veteran’s minimum, you can’t really argue with that.
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