Pietrus leaning 'heavily' towards signing with Celtics

620276.jpg

Pietrus leaning 'heavily' towards signing with Celtics

Mickael Pietrus, recently released by the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, 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 multiple league sources contacted Thursday and Friday indicated that it's highly unlikely he will be claimed.

The 6-foot-6 wing forward has been a player that Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has expressed interest in acquiring in the past.

In addition, Pietrus is a player who one league executive said would be "a great fit" for the Celtics.

"Without Jeff Green, they really don't have an athletic wing player," said an NBA scout. "Sasha (Pavlovic) has some athleticism, but he's not in the same class as Pietrus. And Marquis (Daniels), he's a solid player, but you wouldn't consider him as an athletic wing guy."

Pietrus was supposed to be traded to the Toronto Raptors, but a swollen knee resulted in the Raptors rescinding the trade. The knee appears to be not an issue at this time.

One of the biggest concerns with Pietrus coming to Boston would be whether the Celtics can afford him with only the veteran's minimum to offer.

However, all indications are that Pietrus is willing to accept the league minimum, provided it comes from the right team - and the Celtics, by all accounts, are that team.

According to the Arizona Republic, Pietrus left 1.2 million on the table as part of his buyout from the Suns.

His veteran minimum's salary?

1.2 million.

An eight-year veteran, Pietrus has played for Golden State, Orlando and Phoenix.

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 "for sure" 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."

With Green out for the entire 2011-2012 season, there will be an opportunity for Pietrus to play his way into the regular rotation.

And with the shortened training camp, the learning curve won't be nearly as steep for him as it would in a typical NBA season.

Quotes, notes and stars: Donaldson dominates Kelly

usatsi_9312433.jpg

Quotes, notes and stars: Donaldson dominates Kelly

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 7-5 loss to the Blue Jays:

 

QUOTES

 

* “He had quality stuff, but the story of this one is not being able to contain (Josh) Donaldson. Big night for him . . . I though Joe had quality stuff . . . [He] wasn’t as sharp with the overall location as he was the first time out for us.” John Farrell on Joe Kelly’s second start since his return from the disabled list.

 

* “He’s such a good player and does it in critical moments.” Farrell on Josh Donaldson after his two-homerun, 4-5 performance for Toronto.

 

* “He throws hard and has a lot of sink on his ball. Not much you can do with it. Just try to put it in play and see what happens.” Xander Bogaerts on facing Toronto’s start Aaron Sanchez.

 

* “Bottom line is the results. I think there’s been a strong precedent set with that,” Farrell before the game on moving Clay Buchholz to the bullpen to make room for Eduardo Rodriguez.

 

 

NOTES

 

* Following Friday night’s performance, Josh Donaldson is now 12-20 in his career against Joe Kelly with a double, two home runs and nine RBIs.

 

* The Red Sox’ five runs brings their season total to 38 on the road, averaging 3.8 per game through ten road games. At home, Boston has averaged 7.8 runs through 18 games.

 

* Despite a rough start, Joe Kelly still didn’t record a loss. He hasn’t been on the wrong side of a decision since 7/22/15.

 

* Xander Bogaerts extended his streak to 20 games in his second at-bat against Aaron Sanchez. Boston’s shortstop now has the longest active streak in the league.

 

 

STARS

 

1) Josh Donaldson

Toronto’s third baseman dominated not only Joe Kelly, but Koji Uehara, launching two balls over the fence in a 4-5 day.

 

2) Aaron Sanchez

Although he got tired late, Toronto’s starter only had three earned runs through 6.2 innings against one of the most potent offenses in the league.

 

3) Xander Bogaerts

After teammate Jackie Bradley, Jr. saw his streak die Thursday night, Bogaerts squeaked one up the middle, bringing his streak to 20 games, against a starter who’s caused problems for him before.

Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

usatsi_9235538.jpg

Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

Bruins left wing Brad Marchand definitely altered a lot of people’s perceptions about him as a hockey player when he scored 37 goals this season, and embraced more of a leadership role on a B’s team getting younger by the year. The B’s agitator started to reap the rewards of those changed opinions with a gold medal at the IIHF World Championships in Russia earlier this month, and on Friday with his inclusion on a ridiculously talented Team Canada roster set for the NHL and NHLPA-organized World Cup of Hockey in the fall.

Marchand will join linemate Patrice Bergeron and head coach Claude Julien as part of the Team Canada contingent, and could even be part of a reunited Marchand-Bergeron-Tyler Seguin line if Mike Babcock and Co. are looking for instant chemistry.

Either way Marchand was excited about suiting up for his country, and being part of a World Cup tournament that will include Bruins players Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, David Pastrnak, David Krejci (who may not be available to play due to his hip surgery), Loui Eriksson and Dennis Seidenberg along with the Team Canada contingent.

“It’s an incredible honor to play for Team Canada. It’s something that I think we all take a lot of pride in, and something that is…it’s not an easy accomplishment,” said Marchand. “It’s not something you get to do very often, and to have that opportunity twice this year is very special and it’s not something I take for granted

“I think being part of a team like this is on a different level, and people may give a little more respect to that fact and may look at more of the kind of player I am, other than just the stuff they’ve seen in the past, with the hits and being a pest and stuff like that. Maybe those people will realize that I’m an OK hockey player, and I do play the game as well. But regardless, that’s not why I play the game. I play it to help our team win and just because I love the game, so however they feel, then that’s their opinion. But [earning more respect league-wide] is a possibility.”

This is the fifth time Marchand has been selected to compete for his home country of Canada in international play. The 5-foot-9, 181-pound forward tallied four goals and three assists in 10 games while helping Canada earn a gold medal at the aforementioned 2016 IIHF Men’s World Championships, held earlier this month in Russia. Marchand previously won gold with Team Canada at the U-20 World Championships in 2007 and 2008. He also earned a bronze medal with Team Canada Atlantic at the 2005 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will take place from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. The two-week tournament, featuring eight teams comprised of more than 150 of the best players in the NHL, will progress from the Preliminary Round to the Semifinals and ultimately the Final. 

The involvement of so many Bruins players along with Julien will make for a spare NHL camp in Boston come September with so many important pieces out for what is traditionally the first two weeks of camp.