Aldridge: Pietrus agrees to minimum deal with Celtics
By David Aldridge, TNT analyst
Posted Dec 24 2011 7:11PM
From the minute it became clear that veteran swingman Mickael Pietrus was not going to remain with the Phoenix Suns, almost all interested parties around the NBA expected the 29-year-old to wind up with the Boston Celtics if he cleared waivers, and that's precisely what happened Saturday, with Pietrus agreeing on a veteran minimum deal for the rest of the season when no team opted to pick up his $4 million pro-rated salary.
Boston was desperate to land Pietrus, a rugged defender and, normally, clutch shooter who had bedeviled the Celtics in the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals while with the Magic, averaging 12 points per game in the seven-game Orlando victory, including 17 off the bench in the decisive Game 7.
But Pietrus fell out of favor in both Orlando, which traded him to Phoenix last December as part of the deal that sent center Marcin Gortat to the Suns for Jason Richardson, and in Phoenix, where he played in 38 games last season but was not part of the team's rebuilding plans going forward.
Pietrus's agent, Bill McCandless, had said Friday there was a 15 percent chance a team that had tried to trade for Pietrus would claim him off of waivers. That team turned out to be the Pacers, but they passed, leaving Pietrus free to go to Boston.
And with Paul Pierce (heel) uncertain for the start of the season Sunday, the Celtics' need for a small forward only grew. For now, Sasha Pavlovic is set to play in Pierce's place.
"It was sort of a fait accompli," McCandless said. "The question was, would Indiana claim him off of waivers since they were close to a trade?
And they did not. Put aside all the tradition and stuff that we all know, and even that Mike knows growing up on a Caribbean island. The Celtics worked harder (than any other team). That's a nice combo."
McCandless said that Pietrus got a clean bill of health from an independent medical examination on his right knee on Wednesday. The Suns had originally dealt Pietrus to Toronto earlier this month for a protected second-round pick, but the deal was voided when Pietrus's knee swelled up after working out in Toronto.
The Raptors then signed veteran Rasual Butler and got forward Gary Forbes from Denver via offer sheet. The independent physician "said he's fine and ready to go," McCandless said