Posts Tagged ‘Mickael Pietrus’

Slim Pickings Left In Free Agency

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Training camp is still about eight weeks away, but good luck trying to find any more free agents who can make a real impact on your team. A month after free agency opened, only slim pickings remain.

Want proof? The remaining free agent who played the most minutes last season is Alonzo Gee. Most rebounds? Shelden Williams. Yep, we’re down to the bottom of the barrel.

At this point, if teams are still looking to fill roster spots, they have certain needs. So we’ll list the best available guys by position. Here are three point guards, five wings, and three bigs who could be useful (or not) next season…

Point guards

1. Derek Fisher (OKC)
23.9 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 2.7 APG, 37.1% FG, 32.1% 3PT
The veteran will celebrate his 38th birthday next week, and it’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about a possible destination for next season. After a rough regular season, he shot a solid 38 percent (18-for-48) from 3-point range in the playoffs.

2. Jannero Pargo (ATL)
13.4 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 1.9 APG, 41.5% FG, 38.4% 3PT
Pargo provided an offensive lift for the Hawks in a handful of games last season. (more…)

Survivor: Boston

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics survived Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals in so many ways.

1. They survived an ugly second half.
The Celtics scored 61 points on 46 possessions in the first 24 minutes, probably their best half of the season. Then they scored just 32 points on 47 possessions in the last 29, as Miami turned up the defensive energy and trapped Rajon Rondo. In the end, 93 points was just enough to win the game.

“I thought we were unorganized the whole second half,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Our execution in the first half was flawless. It was as good as we’ve had, and we got completely away from it. We really did. Then I thought Miami just got into us. I thought they physically got into our airspace and took us out of everything.”

2. They survived Paul Pierce fouling out.
The game was tied at 89 when Pierce picked up his sixth foul on a fast-break charge through Shane Battier. Marquis Daniels subbed in, and the Celtics’ continued to struggle offensively.


Bradley’s Status Unknown For Game 5

BOSTON — Despite their second-half collapse in Game 4 on Friday, the Boston Celtics are seemingly still in control of their Eastern Conference semifinals series with the Philadelphia 76ers, with Game 5 tonight (7 ET, TNT) and a possible Game 7 on their home floor.

The Celtics have won 17 of their last 19 games at TD Garden and are 34-9 there in the Big Three era. Only once in the last five years have the Celtics lost more than one home game in a playoff series. That was in 2009, when they lost Games 1 and 7 to the Magic.

Kevin Garnett missed that entire postseason. And as we’ve already seen in these playoffs, injuries can trump home-court advantage.

Right now, the Celtics’ biggest injury concern is not with any of their veterans. It’s with the youngest guy on their roster, Avery Bradley. The second-year defensive specialist has been dealing with a left shoulder issue most of the season, and it has already popped out twice in this series.

Bradley was not on the floor for Monday morning’s shootaround, and he’s listed as a game-time decision for Game 5.


Tie Suspension To Harden’s Recovery

CHICAGO — Jim Barnett got clocked a few times in his six-team, 11-year NBA career, but never harder than when Milwaukee’s Bobby Dandridge intentionally nailed him in the temple with an elbow in a playoff game in the early 1970s. “That was the worst,” Barnett, now a broadcaster for the Golden State Warriors, said recently. “Because I was out. Jon McGlocklin was with the Bucks – I had played with him in San Diego – and I said, ‘Jon, I have no idea where I am.’

“He said, ‘I’ll just throw the ball to Oscar [Robertson] and Lucius Allen.’ And for, like, three possessions up and down the floor, he didn’t try to beat me or anything. Swear to God, in a playoff game.”

Reminded about the incident, McGlocklin smiled and said, “I don’t think I was ever that nice.” But Barnett appreciated his sportsmanship – he was trying to keep what almost certainly was a concussion hidden from Warriors coach Al Attles – and felt even worse once his head cleared: “I started to feel OK and I hit a jump shot [against McGlocklin], and I felt badly about it.”

We might hope that Metta World Peace and James Harden reminisce someday about the ugly, frightening incident Sunday that put Harden out of Oklahoma City’s lineup and left World Peace, the Lakers’ tightly wound forward, awaiting what is expected to be a significant suspension and possibly fine.

Late in the first half of their matinee game at Staples Center, World Peace swung a wild but seemingly well-aimed elbow that slammed into the back of Harden’s head, drawing gasps from those who saw it both in real time and via endless replays ever since. The flagrant-2 foul ended the game for both men — Harden initially tried to return after halftime but was sent back to the locker room, while World Peace was banished for the vicious blow.


Rosen’s Report: Thunder at Celtics


Along with most NBA watchers, the Oklahoma City Thunder are convinced that their sprightly legs and extraordinary team-wide talent will enable them to trump the difficulties of the shortened season and eventually run their way to the championship.  As if the Thunder need any further motivation, beating the Celtics in Boston would provide immediate evidence that elderly tortoises are no match for young hares.

Conversely, the Celtics understand that this is the last go-round for their rapidly aging core of KG, PP and Ray-Ray.  Here is a golden-age opportunity to demonstrate that they’re not quite ready for the glue factory.


Agent: Celtics Top Pietrus’ Wish List

The agent for swingman Mickael Pietrus, placed on waivers by the Suns on Thursday, said four teams are most interested in picking him up once he clears waivers Saturday, with league sources strongly believing the 29-year-old will sign with the Celtics.

The Celtics are desperately hoping that Pietrus will clear waivers. Boston’s need for a defensive wing player is profound, and the Celtics know Pietrus well from his days with the Magic. Pietrus killed the Celtics off the bench in the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinal series, averaging 12 points in 25 minutes. He scored 17 points in three games of the series, including going six of seven from the floor, making all three of his 3-point attempts, in Orlando’s Game 7 win at Boston.

But agent Bill McCandless said Friday morning that he thought there was a “15 percent” chance that a team would claim Pietrus off of waivers before he clears. But that team would have to pay Pietrus the $4.2 million on his original contract (that is pro-rated for the 66-game regular season this year; Pietrus originally was to make $5.3 million this season). Pietrus and the Suns worked out a buyout that will pay him $3 million of the $4.2 million once he clears waivers; after that he’d be free to negotiate a new contract with the team that signs him.

Currently the most teams are offering Pietrus is the “mini” mid-level exception for teams that are more than $4 million above the luxury tax threshold of $70 million. The mini mid-level can run as many as three years and a little more than $9 million total. Pietrus, who was a key contributor during the Magic’s run to The Finals in 2009, wants to play for a contending team and is willing to take a little less than may be available to do so.

“In this case, cap space is a little less relevant,” McCandless said. “If you’re on a team that’s successful, then you’re successful.”

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.

The Suns were still trying to work out a trade for Pietrus when they reached the buyout with him, and were not happy with his comportment while in Phoenix. Pietrus came there last season as part of the trade that sent center Marcin Gortat to Phoenix in exchange for Hedo Turkoglu going back to Orlando. Pietrus played in 38 games last season for Phoenix, averaging 7.4 points in a little more than 18 minutes a game, almost all of those as a reserve.

“You know the old saying, ‘all’s well that ends well?’,” Suns GM Lon Babby said. “In this case, it’s ‘all’s well that ends.’ “

Blogtable: Are Magic for real?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Are you a believer in the Magic yet? Meaning, are they championship material? Why or why not?

Steve Aschburner: I probably won’t be a believer in Magic right up to the point where Commissioner David Stern is handing Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard the Larry O’Brien trophy someday. It’s a bias I have against that 3-ball-heavy style of theirs and, irrationally enough, it lingers even though the two players I least trusted – Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis – are gone. Turns out Gilbert Arenas accounts for enough distrust for two. Now, if Marcus Camby is standing alongside Howard once the trading deadline passes … well, I’ll still be a skeptic until it all comes together.

Fran Blinebury: Things have come together quicker than I thought, but it could still be a problem in the playoffs due to a lack of size behind Dwight Howard.  Can they really get away with simply extended minutes from Brandon Bass?  The good news, of course, is that Miami lacks size as well. But those hulking Celtics could be a problem. (more…)

Blogtable: Suns in playoffs for sure now?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Pick a winner Saturday and tell us why: Heat or Lakers.

Magic: Better, worse or the same after the big trade?

And …

Suns, playoff team for sure now, or not?

David Aldridge: There’s no guarantee they make the playoffs; Houston is getting its bearing again after losing Yao (again), Portland could yet right the ship, and I haven’t given up on Golden State just yet; the Warriors could be interesting if they could ever stay healthy for more than a week. The Suns are better, if a lot more expensive. (more…)

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 37)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — When a monster trade happens and you need an extensive breakdown, we’d like for you to be able pull up a chair here at the hideout and get all your questions answered.

We’ll take care of everything, including asking all the right questions of the people in the know.

So on a weekend that sees Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu all change teams on the same weekend (in two different deals instigated by Magic GM Otis Smith), we want to make sure you come here for the breakdown.

And we took care of all that and more on Episode 37 of the Hang Time Podcast.


Several friends of the program were kind enough to lend us their time to make sure we covered all the bases. Our main man Michael Lee of the Washington Post joined us to break things down from the Wizards’ angle. Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post weighed in on from the Magic perspective.

If this is just the start of a crazy couple of months before the February trade deadline, two more teams that could be in the middle of the movement mix are the Hawks, the only team in the Southeast Division yet to overhaul their operation in the past two seasons, and the Knicks, who are desperately pursuing another All-Star (Carmelo Anthony) to play alongside Amar’e Stoudemire.

So naturally, we decided to take a proactive approach in that regard. Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution helped us out with the Hawks’ thinking as we head to the deadline, while Alan Hahn of Newsday helped us finish off the show in style with some Knicks chatter.

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine, our super producer Micah Hart of’s All Ball Blog and your host Sekou Smith on Twitter.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.

Workplace Tension In Orlando

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Frictions isn’t always a bad thing.

Sometimes just the right amount of tension in the workplace brings out the best in everyone.

With Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy tinkering with his rotations, there was bound to be some healthy friction between the free-speaking coach and his players.

Ryan Anderson didn’t like being passed up in the rotation by Brandon Bass and Mickael Pietrus doesn’t like the way he’s being used, either, hence the shouting match and benching that occurred Wednesday night.

But with Van Gundy committed to tinkering, in anticipation of the playoffs, Magic players will have to live with whatever Van Gundy decides to do (as Stan Van explained to my main man Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel):

“It’s going to be a tough thing for a few of our guys. The good part is we have a flexibility to play different situations, but to do that, somebody has to pay every night. I guess, as we go along, we’ll see who can handle it and produce. I don’t mind if they are pissed off with me, but I don’t want it translating to their teammates. I need them to stay together as a group.”

As B. Schmitz pointed out, this is the second straight year that Van Gundy’s rotation tinkering has caused friction. Last season Bass and J.J. Redick bristled at the way they were being used.

The fact is, players complain about the way they are used all the time. It’s as common as tattoos and baggy shorts in the NBA. The key is making sure that the friction helps the cause as opposed to hurting the team’s overall performance.

Pietrus seems to understand as much:

“I’m a very competitive guy. What I miss the most is being out there,” he said. “It’s not playing time; it’s getting back that adrenalin that I need. It’s hard for me not to have that.

“It’s why I’m so frustrated. … I respect Stan. Of course. He’s like part of my family.”

Family or not, do you think this tension is good for the Magic?

Let’s go to the polls: