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Celtics get boost in signing Mickael Pietrus

By Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / December 25, 2011
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NEW YORK - It didn’t take long for Mickael Pietrus to decide he wanted to spend the next stage of his career with the Celtics. In fact, it was mere minutes after he cleared waivers last night.

The Celtics received a roster boost when the versatile swingman agreed to a one-year contract for the league minimum, giving the club a more-than-capable backup to Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.

Pietrus, 29, will fill the minutes vacated by Jeff Green, who found out a week ago that he would miss the season because of an aortic aneurysm. After Pietrus had his contract bought out by Phoenix Thursday, he became a free agent at 6 p.m. yesterday and agreed to a contract shortly thereafter.

Pietrus will not be available for today’s game against the Knicks. He will take a physical tomorrow in Boston and is expected to join the team Tuesday in Miami

“I have decided to be part of The Boston Celtics Family,’’ Pietrus wrote on Twitter.

“This was decided four days ago,’’ agent Bill McCandless said. “We knew that if [Phoenix] executed the proposed buyout that [Mickael] would be able to go to Boston. His mind was pretty much made up.’’

He was nearly traded to Toronto two weeks ago, but the Raptors were concerned about knee surgery Pietrus underwent in July.

According to an NBA source, the right knee is not seriously damaged and Pietrus is expected to be 100 percent in about two weeks. It is uncertain if he is capable of playing right now. He did not play in either of Phoenix’s two preseason games.

He also missed Phoenix’s final 12 regular-season games last season because of a sore right knee and hasn’t played in an NBA game since a two-minute appearance March 23.

“People should understand that he’s not in game shape,’’ McCandless said. “He needs to get himself in shape and I think the Celtics will give him that opportunity to get in shape. He works out every day, but he needs to keep working to get in better shape.’’

Pietrus was the 11th overall pick in the 2003 draft by Golden State and has also spent time with the Magic. Mostly coming off the bench, Pietrus has averaged 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds in his career. His best year was 2006-07 when he averaged 11.1 points and shot nearly 49 percent for the Warriors.

The Suns allowed other clubs to talk with Pietrus’s representatives during the waiver process and the Celtics expressed their interest.

“We are very excited to be able to add Mickael to our team,’’ Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement. “His skills as a perimeter defender and an outside shooter provide great versatility to the roster.’’

Celtics coach Doc Rivers could not talk about players from other organizations playing for the club specifically, but he expressed his admiration for Pietrus.

“He would be great, a good addition for any team,’’ Rivers said Friday. “He would be athletic. He would bring us some toughness. He could guard the 2 or the 3. He could stretch the floor. Whoever gets him will be getting a heck of a player.’’

Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @gwashburn14.

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