Celtics

Pietrus leaning 'heavily' towards signing with Celtics

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Pietrus leaning 'heavily' towards signing with Celtics

Mickael Pietrus, recently released by the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, is leaning "heavily" towards signing with the Boston Celtics, according to a league source.

Pietrus must first clear waivers -- that won't happen until 6 p.m. Saturday -- but multiple league sources contacted Thursday and Friday indicated that it's highly unlikely he will be claimed.

The 6-foot-6 wing forward has been a player that Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has expressed interest in acquiring in the past.

In addition, Pietrus is a player who one league executive said would be "a great fit" for the Celtics.

"Without Jeff Green, they really don't have an athletic wing player," said an NBA scout. "Sasha (Pavlovic) has some athleticism, but he's not in the same class as Pietrus. And Marquis (Daniels), he's a solid player, but you wouldn't consider him as an athletic wing guy."

Pietrus was supposed to be traded to the Toronto Raptors, but a swollen knee resulted in the Raptors rescinding the trade. The knee appears to be not an issue at this time.

One of the biggest concerns with Pietrus coming to Boston would be whether the Celtics can afford him with only the veteran's minimum to offer.

However, all indications are that Pietrus is willing to accept the league minimum, provided it comes from the right team - and the Celtics, by all accounts, are that team.

According to the Arizona Republic, Pietrus left 1.2 million on the table as part of his buyout from the Suns.

His veteran minimum's salary?

1.2 million.

An eight-year veteran, Pietrus has played for Golden State, Orlando and Phoenix.

His agent, Bill McCandless, would not say whether Pietrus would sign with the C's.

However, he did tell CSNNE.com that the C's would "for sure" be on his short list of teams if he cleared waivers.

"He's only 29, so he's not like Charles Barkley or some other older players running around, chasing a championship," McCandless said. "But he wants to be with a playoff team, and have a chance to contribute."

With Green out for the entire 2011-2012 season, there will be an opportunity for Pietrus to play his way into the regular rotation.

And with the shortened training camp, the learning curve won't be nearly as steep for him as it would in a typical NBA season.

Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

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Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

BRIGHTON, Mass – The string of injuries for the Bruins continues as Tuukka Rask (upper body) is out for tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden after getting trucked by Anders Bjork in practice Wednesday.

Rask was wobbly-legged while being helped off the ice after the violent collision and the 21-year-old Bjork looked like he’d also needed a couple of stitches on his chin after bloodying his practice jersey.

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The big concern is Rask still being evaluated by Bruins medical personnel for a possible concussion. It will be Anton Khudobin stepping in place for him against the Canucks with Providence Bruins netminder Zane McIntyre serving as his backup.

“Tuukka is out tonight. He’s going to get reevaluated today and we’ll have a better idea tomorrow,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Anton will start [against the Canucks].”

Clearly, Khudobin didn’t like seeing his goaltending partner get drilled in a spirited practice, but the 32-year-old is clearly feeling confident after a strong camp and a winning season debut last week against the Arizona Coyotes.

“You don’t want to see that, but at the same time we’ve got to keep moving forward and hopefully he’s going to get better soon,” said Khudobin, who stopped 29-of-31 shots in the win over Arizona last weekend. “I feel good. Camp was good and everything is fine, and I’ve started better than last year. My role is just day-to-day. Today is a game day and hopefully, you get a good result, and then tomorrow is another new day.”

Otherwise, it looks like the Bruins will at least be getting some of their healthy bodies back with David Backes in the lineup and Patrice Bergeron a game-time decision against the Canucks. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on Wednesday’s practice:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork
DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak
Schaller-Kuraly-Backes
Beleskey-Nash-Agostino
 
Chara-McAvoy
Miller-Carlo
Krug-McQuaid

Khudobin 

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