Pietrus leaning 'heavily' towards signing with Celtics

Pietrus leaning 'heavily' towards signing with Celtics
December 23, 2011, 1:22 am
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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.