OFFSEASON

Pietrus: 'My heart is still for Boston'

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Pietrus: 'My heart is still for Boston'

ORLANDO, Fla. - Mickael Pietrus is well aware of Ray Allen's decision to sign with the Miami Heat instead of returning to the Boston Celtics for what would have been a sixth season.

In choosing the Heat, Allen signed for significantly less money than he would have received if he had returned to Boston.

Ironically, Pietrus may find himself in a similar dilemma if he returns to the team he desperately wants to play for - the Celtics.

Although the 30-year-old wing has yet to receive another offer, there's a good chance that another team will be willing to pony up more than the C's initial offer.

That leaves Pietrus to work towards Plan A an B.

Plan A being to return to Boston, while B would be to prepare as though that might not happen.

"It's up to Danny (Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations)," Pietrus told CSNNE.com in a phone interview on Saturday. "It's not up to me. You know my heart is still for Boston. I still want to be there and bring home Banner 18."

Allen's departure certainly makes that a more realistic possibility.

But the Celtics have their eyes set on a number of possible replacements for Allen, a pool of talent that includes but is not limited to, Pietrus.

"There will be a lot of good players looking for work this summer," Ainge said.

The C's are likely out of the price range for O.J. Mayo and Louis Wiliams who are both free agents and still in search of a team.

Boston does have a shot at landing players such as Courtney Lee, Josh Howard and former Celtic Gerald Green who are all free agents that should come at a more reasonable price than the Mayo's and Williams' of the world.

Meanwhile, Pietrus will be as patient as he can be, hoping that his agent Bill McCandless gets a call from Ainge offering a contract.

McCandless told CSNNE.com that he had a "very cordial" conversation with Ainge on Friday, and had plans to talk with other teams this weekend.

"Mickael wants to come back to Boston," McCandless said. "The Celtics know this; their fans know this. Everyone knows. It's just a matter of whether we can get a deal done to make that happen."

Like Allen, Pietrus underwent offseason surgery to correct an injury (right knee) that had been nagging him all season.

Pietrus had surgery previously on the same knee, but his recovery proved to be problematic which was in part why the Phoenix Suns bought him out and thus allowed him to join with the Celtics. In his lone season in Boston, Pietrus became an instant hit with his teammates and Celtics Nation in part by correctly predicting the C's would eventually make a strong playoff run despite a less-than-stellar start to the season.

They did just that, advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference finals before being eliminated in seven games by the Heat.

Although Pietrus' energy and as Doc Rivers puts it, "great spirit" were positives for the ball club, his struggles physically with the knee limited his impact at both ends of the floor.

"I was never 100 percent all year," Pietrus acknowledged. "Next couple weeks, I'll start running and start basketball and doing what I do in the summertime to get better. And with my knee better, I should be a decent player."

Having had surgery on his right knee on June 13, Pietrus is confident he can regain his pre-injury form and help the Celtics make another deep playoff run which he still believes will end with another title in Boston.

"The team goal - Banner 18 - that's what I'm about," Pietrus said. "That's what I want."