Mickael Pietrus is “leaning heavily” towards signing with the Celtics according to CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely. Pietrus was just waived by the Phoenix Suns and if, as expected, he clears league-wide waivers Saturday, he’ll be free to join the C’s before their opener on Christmas Day.
Pietrus, who turns 30 in February, was actually moved to the Toronto Raptors earlier this month but the Raptors rescinded the trade after Pietrus experienced some knee-swelling and an irregular MRI result (the specifics of the MRI are unreported, from what I can tell).
Pietrus has a reputation as a strong wing defender and a three-point threat although both of those claims come with caveats
His defensive rep is based in part on his athleticism and physicality. It’s also based on some of his high-profile defensive assignments in the playoffs, including his work checking LeBron James in 2009. But Pietrus also has a reputation as a player whose focus can drift and whose defensive effort can slip as a result. Boston’s cultural intensity could quickly cure him of that habit, a gamble Danny Ainge may be willing to take (Ainge has reportedly eyed Pietrus in the past).
Pietrus’ three-point pedigree marks him more as a high class mongrel than a purebred. Last season, he shot .391 for the Magic, a team that prioritizes spot-up threes off Dwight Howard double-teams but slipped to .342 after being traded to Phoenix. For his career, he’s a 36% shooter behind-the-arc. Credible, but unspectacular.
For the Celtics, Pietrus isn’t a sure thing. His overall productivity numbers are poor (his last three years in PER: 9.87, 11.96 and 11.69) so he’s going to add little offensive punch (what the team really needs) but he’s a good finisher at the rim and could be the kind of player who benefits from running with Rajon Rondo. He’d also be another bench guy on the right side of age 30 (if only barely). Plus, with Jeff Green out for the year, Paul Pierce battling heel problems and Marquis Daniels a perpetual threat to go down with an injury, Pietrus could also sop up some minutes at the backup-3 as the Celtics’ schedule gets hectic.