Mickael Pietrus may be farther away from rejoining the Celtics than anyone thought, with Pietrus' agent, Bill McCandless, calling the NBA a "big boy business" and emphasizing that Pietrus should be well-paid for his skills.
Pietrus would like to return to the Celtics, McCandless said, but he isn't necessarily going to take one for the team, Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com reports.
"[He] will not play for the veteran's minimum. Period," McCandless said, referring to the $1.23 million Pietrus would make with the minimum contract since he's been in the league nine years. "It's not happening. That's the beginning, middle and end of that. … He's not a veteran's minimum player. There's no chance he'll ever sign for that."
Pietrus agreed to a similar amount to play with Boston last year. In 42 games with the team, he averaged 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds a game but provided the biggest boost on defense. He was also a spark in the playoffs, coming through with some timely 3-pointers to help the Celtics as Avery Bradley sat out with injury and a limping Ray Allen struggled.
McCandless said Pietrus was offered three times the veteran minimum to play overseas last year but opted for the Celtics — a decision he won't be making again. Pietrus has also received several offers from other NBA teams, "And the money was much more than the veteran minimum," McCandless said.
"I've had the veteran minimum thrown at me like hubcaps," McCandless said, according to WEEI. "In this collective bargaining agreement, a component of any player's wishes and desires is the money teams are willing to pay. They're pro athletes. My mother might cry in her beer when Johnny Damon runs away to the Yankees, but you and I understand it's a business."
Without the veteran minimum as an option, the Celtics could offer the bi-annual exception, worth $1.96 million. But if Pietrus is dissatisfied with the Celtics' pursuit, and other teams are offering more, even that may not be enough.
"He's looking for a team that likes him and respects what he does," McCandless said. "If he ends up on a championship or playoff contender, that'll take care of itself. … He's still open to a return. He loved Boston. Everybody knows that. But we're all big boys, and this is a big boy business."
The Celtics have made plenty of free agent moves already, signing Jason Terry and Courtney Lee while bringing Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox back. Greg Stiemsma is headed to Minnesota, and Ray Allen has signed with the Heat, but Jason Collins is expected to join the C's, and Dionte Christmas was picked up over the weekend.