Pietrus: I feel like Boston is home
June, 27, 2012
By Greg Payne | ESPNBoston.com
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Free agent forward Mickael Pietrus made it very clear Wednesday where he wants to spend his foreseeable NBA future: Boston.
AP Photo/Amy SancettaMickael Pietrus wouldn't mind at least one more season in Boston.
Making a surprise appearance at the Celtics' training facility in Waltham, presumably where he's rehabbing his right knee, which he had surgery on two weeks ago, Pietrus stopped to speak with reporters and made it sound like he has every intention of staying with the Celtics for future seasons.
"I feel like, for me, I feel like it's home," Pietrus said of Boston. "I feel like I'm home. My summertime is hanging out with the Celtics. And I'm excited about [the NBA draft on Thursday], too. So I've never experienced any of the draft experience, so hopefully I'll be in the Garden and cheering for my new teammates."
Pietrus added: "Obviously all the fans want me to be back on Twitter, so if it was up to the fans, I would be a five-year, 10-year Celtic, but it's not up to them, or me, too. Hopefully my agent and [director of basketball operations Danny Ainge] are going to work out a deal and [I'll be] a Celtic forever."
Pietrus and his agent, William McCandless, can begin negotiating with the Celtics on Sunday, July 1 -- the first day of the NBA's moratorium period. A deal can't technically be signed until July 11, but one can be in place by that point. Pietrus, though, understands that he's just a piece of the puzzle, fully aware that the Celtics still need to lock down the most important piece this offseason in Kevin Garnett.
Count Pietrus among those who want to see Garnett back in Boston next season.
"He's the face of the franchise. If we really want to win a championship, we've got to have KG," Pietrus said. "And, our main focus on Sunday is going to be KG, two letters. I have two numbers [1 and 8], and now I have two letters. So, you know, I'm excited about it, too, so hopefully you guys are going to see me back on Sunday. Hopefully it's going to start Sunday for me, too, so I'm just excited to be here, and just excited to think about Banner 18 all summer. So, I think I've got to go get it. So my main focus is to get Banner 18 and that's it."
Pietrus said he has been in contact with Garnett, but the conversations dealt primarily with soccer and EURO 2012. Pietrus is aligned with Spain, while KG's backing Germany. Naturally, a friendly wager is now in place.
"I spoke to him. I spoke to him sometime. We have a bet. The bet is he's rooting for Germany, I'm rooting for Spain," Pietrus joked. "So hopefully I'm going to collect my bet on Sunday when he comes here to sign his new contract. So we'll see. It's been fun. It's been fun for me. It's been fun for the Celtics. We had a great year. Everybody's talking about how we have to go young and stuff, but when you end the season so well, you want to get another chance to compete for a championship, and I think that's why Doc [Rivers] wants the same team to be together and try to go get it.
"He wants to win. That's what I like about KG. He likes to win, I want to win, we all want to win. Doc wants to win. So I think, if he's coming back he's really going to try to go get that banner and then retire. And then [it'll] be a great 19 years for him, because we'll look to sign him for two more years."
Pietrus was playfully alluding to Garnett's discussing a two-year deal with the Celtics on Sunday, not confirming it. While he's hopeful Garnett will play in Boston again, he has too much respect for the 17-year veteran to speculate on his career path.
"We just talk about soccer right now, because, you know, I don't talk about his business," Pietrus said. "That's somebody I respect. He's a great vet, so he knows how to handle his own business. We just talk about soccer and how much fun we had this season and obviously he wants me to be back with the Celtics."
As for his rehab, Pietrus sounded encouraging on all fronts, noting that the process has been smooth thus far and that he doesn't expect to deal with any physical limitations moving forward.
"My rehab's been great. The Celtics have been great for me," Pietrus said. "My knee feels so much better, so I look forward to being on the floor with my teammates and others, coming here and working on my game, and trying to win. I just want to win. I'm feeling better. I can do pretty much everything. Not running right now, but I'm feeling much confidence about my knee and it shouldn't be a problem anymore. So, MP gonna be back, flying again."
Pietrus is just hoping Boston is where he'll be taking flight.