28

MP time: Almost at an end?

So Mickael Pietrus came right out and said it at practice Tuesday afternoon.

And said it, and said it, and said it…

In seven minutes of talk with the media, Pietrus didn’t go more than 20 seconds, on average, without using either the word “trade” or “move” to describe his fervent desire to play anywhere other than Oracle Arena.

“No matter where I go, I’ll prove myself and I’ll be a great player,” Pietrus said. “That’s all that’s on my mind right now. And I’ll be an All-Star, too.”

MP has popped off about playing time before, but this was hardly one of those situations. It was a clearly calculated attempt to force the hand of the Warriors, although it appears to have had little effect on the organization as a whole.

“I think it’s necessary to do a deal that’s good for the Warriors,” executive vice president Chris Mullin said when asked if the Warriors had no choice but to move MP. “That is necessary. . . . There’s a lot of things I’m willing to do, and I’ve been willing to do. But that does entail somebody else in that scenario.”

The problem remains the same as it’s been for months: Mullin and Pietrus’ agents are at loggerheads over what constitutes a fair deal. Bill McCandless and Happy Walters have flogged a lot of potential trades, but none of them have passed muster with the Warriors, who are looking for a very specific type of player — for the most part, either someone who’s going to take the team to the Western Conference finals or beyond, or someone who’s coming off the books this summer, so the money doesn’t get squeezed for Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins.

(Personally, I’m partial to Miami’s Jason Williams, but I’m not convinced the Warriors would be willing to use their $10 million trade exception on J-Will — nor am I convinced they’re enamored with Williams’ game in general.)

McCandless brought up an interesting point Tuesday: If Pietrus is worth so much to the Warriors when it comes to making a trade, why isn’t he on the floor more?

“(Pietrus) is either a contributor on your team — in which case he plays 25 minutes — or he’s not,” McCandless said. “If he’s not a contributor, why expect to get the same things in return?”

In Kawakami’s absence, here are the Q&A transcripts:

Mickael Pietrus:
I definitely want to be traded to another team that I can help at the 2/3 position. I think that it was good to play the 4/5, but it’s not really my primary spot, it’s not where I’m so efficient. So I want to move on. I think I came here, I worked my ass off for the team, and now it’s good that we have a playoff team and I feel like I need to move on and go somewhere else I can help the team right away.
(What if you’re still here on Feb. 22?)
I want to be traded. I want to be traded. I don’t think about after Feb. 21. I think about now, and I think for me it’s time to move on and go to a team that I can — as a player, you’re always looking to improve yourself and I feel like I need to prove myself and be a better player every day.
(Most players say, “I just want to play for a winning team.” You just called this a playoff team. Why leave?)
Because I feel like the 4/5, if you compare my statistics at the same time last year, before the trade, I was averaging 14, 15 points, and this year, they’re trying to move me to the 4/5, which is not my primary spot. I would like to get back to where I came from, like the 2/3, and play at a high level.
(Nellie says you’re playing better than earlier this season.)
I don’t feel like I’m playing more minutes, but I feel like when I step on the floor, I’m trying to be a professional and do the right thing for the team. I know I’m not going to stay on the floor for 40 minutes, so I’m trying to help the team the best way I can, but I feel like I need to move on and go to a team that wants me and wants to use me at the 2/3.
(You think the Warriors don’t want you?)
I never said they don’t want me. It’s nothing against the organization, it’s just always as a player you want to improve yourself and I feel like I need to move on.
(But doesn’t the fact they only made the one-year qualifying offer speak volumes?)
If you look at the team, the only tradable guy on the team is me, and I won’t mind that.
(What did Nellie say to you?)
Between coach and me, I think it was a private talk. He told me that he only has 10 minutes for me at the 2/3, and I’ve been through a lot this year, a lot of frustration, and when I was to play the 4/5. To me, to play just 10 minutes at the 3, it’s kind of tough. I’m trying to be as professional as I am, try to help the team the best way I can before I move on.
(Nellie said they’re not just going to trade you for the sake of a trade.)
I want to be moved. I want to be moved. I want to be moved. I want to be traded.
(Sad that it’s come to this?)
Since I came here, I’m a vet now, I gave the team a lot. We were a bad team five years ago, and I worked hard to put the team where they are now, and I feel like I’m ready to move on and look forward and get better.
(Happy with where Nelson has played you, or frustrated?)
I feel frustrated, because when you look at my statistics from last year, when I used to play the 2/3, I was averaging a lot of points and a lot of rebounds. But since he moved me to the 4/5, I’m not as efficient as I was. I’m trying to find myself at this point, but this team doesn’t belong to me. I think I’m better at the 2/3 and I can help the team better.
(If you leave, what would you take from Nelson?)
It’s no hard feelings against the Warriors, no hard feelings against anybody, no hard feelings against Chris Mullin. I feel like I want to improve my game from last year to this year, and for me it’s time to thank them and move on.
(If you had it to do over again, would you have stayed out instead of signing the qualifying offer?)
It’s a good qualifying offer. It wasn’t bad. I don’t think it’s a problem with the contract. I think it’s a problem where you give so much to the team last year and I was expecting more this year, and try to help my team and try to play at a high level and try to focus in. But I feel like for me, it’s just time to move on after five years. I gave so much, and I would like to thank everybody and be traded.
(Expecting “more” of what, exactly?)
In terms of playing time. It’s kind of tough when you play 10 minutes and you try to improve as a player. I know that I’m a better player, and I will be a great player.
(Did you try to convince Nelson to play you more at 2/3?)
No, I understand that we have a good vet in front of me in Stephen Jackson. It is no problem. But I feel like there’s more teams out there who would like to use me at the 2/3 and I feel like it’s time for me to move on.
No matter where I go, I’ll prove myself and I’ll be a great player. That’s all that’s on my mind right now. And I’ll be an All-Star, too. I told you before.

Don Nelson:
(What was the upshot of Mickael’s meeting with you?)
Real simple. It was nothing I didn’t know. His agent asked him to see me so he could put the quote in the paper that he did. Anyway, he did.
(Problems with guys playing for contracts?)
No, actually, it was getting better (with Pietrus).
(How so?)
Well, at least he’s playing know, playing hard, playing the best he’s played all year right now. That hasn’t transformed to the games, but he’s working hard in practice, those kind of things.
(Was he pouting earlier this season?)
I wouldn’t say that. You call it what you want. I don’t really know. He has not had a good year.
(What did you tell him?)
I told him exactly what you would think I would tell him: That we’re not just going to trade him because he wants to be traded, and if we can get a player for him, we’ll trade him, and if we can’t, he’s gonna stay here. Real simple. It has to be somebody that we like, somebody that can help us. He’s an NBA player. I have to get an NBA player back for him that I like. I like Pietrus. When he’s playing, I like him. He played 26 minutes a game last year. Why are his minutes cut down? Because of his production. No other reason. I had him penciled in for at least 26, 28 minutes. Losing JR, you assume that he and Matt have to really step up for us to play well. Matt is just now starting to play, and so is Pietrus. I’m shocked we’ve don as well as we’ve done without those guys being major contributors. I think Monta, Baron, Jack, Pietrus, guys that are playing a majority of the minutes have done a really good job.
(What kind of problem will it be if he’s here Feb. 22?)
It would be no problem for me. I think it’d probably be a positive for him too, one way or the other, once the trade deadline has passed, and he’s either gonna be here for the year or he’s not. It’s gonna help him as well.
(Was the meeting the reason behind putting him at the 3?)
No. That’s a mental thing. He feels if he’s a 3, he can play better, so I made him a 3. There’s not a lot of minutes there, however; Jack plays 40 minutes at the 3.
(He played some 4 last year.)
It didn’t change. It’s just in his mind. I don’t know.

– Geoff

Geoff Lepper

Geoff Lepper has covered the Warriors since 2005 for the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times. Before that, he covered baseball and college sports for the Marin Independent Journal.

  • Andrew

    He said all star:) In other news pigs were alledgedly seen flying backwards today.

  • Stephen

    Pssssshhhhhh. Yeaaaah right. Mikael should start with trying to NOT step out of bounds like a 10 year old every other time he touches the damn ball.

  • manhattanproj

    can you get pietrus for kyle lowry?
    pietrus for tyrus thomas?
    pietrus for travis outlaw? not likely

    if you can get lowry, i think it’s a worthwhile trade.

  • Bayarea Bob

    Aim lower, perhaps Keyon Dooling or Mo Evans.

  • EJ

    i’ll take dooling. if anything the warriors take back expiring contracts since they’ve got a solid rotation already. i doubt they get anyone of impact in a deal.

  • fergus

    seems like jason williams is actually the most we can expect. he could help ease baron’s minutes and will only be a rent-a-player for the rest of the season. it works w/pietrus and the trade exception.

  • traveler

    Pietrus is not playing and was not picked up in the summer for a good reason. His Basketball IQ is just not very high. He still makes the same mistakes – when putting the ball on the court, he still takes negative steps rather than stepping forward. the negative step results in stepping out of bounds and a turnover. very basic stuff like that and his ball handling is suspect. he is turnover prone. just too many things to list. you would think a “veteran” would have learned by now. I like his athletesism – dunks and all but come on now this is the pros. you have to get your game together.

  • Peachruss

    I still remember the draft when we picked him up. It was rumored that Jerry West really wanted Pietrus (who was supposed to be France’s version of Michael Jordan). Gary St. Jean tried to use that as leverage for a last minute draft-day trade. We ended up with this athletic moron that never developed into more than a flashy low percentage spot-up shooter.

    I’m glad the Warriors higher-ups are taking the hard stance now. But I have a feeling we still are over-valuing what other GMs are willing to give us in return.

  • Vince

    Nice. A bench warmer trying to force a trade? Let’s see, he’s not obviously not going to start ahead of Jack and Monta. Then, he doesn’t play well enough to get off the bench before Barnes, Azubuike, and Croshere. It’s a toss between him and Belinelli.

    He sounds like the worst performer in a company asking for a raise.

    I would only trade him for a contributor with an expiring contract, and or a draft pick from a team under the salary cap.

    If we cannot get anything, can we just throw him to NBDL and let him rot until his contract expires this year?

  • Vince

    Nelson says it right, “He played 26 minutes a game last year. Why are his minutes cut down? Because of his production. No other reason.”

    If he’s any good this year, Jack and Monta do not need to play 40 minutes a game!

  • Jonas

    Rasual Butler for Pietrus.

  • Marcus

    Pietrus for Charlie Villanueva

  • EJ

    Marcus,

    We’ve seen numerous people post the Pietrus for Villanueva trade on blogs and message boards for a couple of months now. I’d love the move. What could possibly keep this deal from happening? It seems to make perfect sense for both teams as Pietrus give the Bucks a wing player they need. He’d be able to start in the frontcourt with Bogut and Yi. Villanueva is perfect for Nellie’s uptempo system and he rebounds a lot better than Harrington. The salaries match so other contracts won’t have be involved. Is it more complicated than what see on paper?

  • roman

    MP is deluded. He always had great athletic potential but not the brains. he does an emphatic dunk one play, then steps out of bounds or travels on the next play. this he does over and over again to the point where you get nervous when he has the ball.

    he also had his chance to prove himself last year during playoffs. but he missed those free throws against the jazz.

    I wish he had mike dunleavey’s brains, then he’d be a baller. someone send him to basketball brain camp.

  • jaysohn

    It can be more complicated then it seems on paper if the Bucks don’t want Pietrus. The reality is no team stepped up over the off season to grab Air France and its unlikely that any team is offering much now. The Warriors can simply wait until the end of the season and have instant cap relief. So why take on a contract or a player that doesn’t fit when you don’t have to? Every GM knows that he wants to be traded so I’m sure they are offering either scrubs or players with contracts that they want to dump. Pietrus just doesn’t have enough value to make a decent trade that would benefit the Warriors. So he should just accept the reality, play out the season and then he will be a free agent to do as he pleases.

  • Benny Adamo

    I’ve generally liked Pietrus since the W’s drafted him. He can be flashy at times, plays solid defense and what’s not to like about his athleticism. But all of that went out the window when he missed those two free throws in game 2 against the Jazz in the playoffs last year. If he makes those FT’s the W’s win that game and the whole face of the series changes (remember the warriors nearly won game one as well and the completely destroyed the jazz in game 3). It might sound unlikely but think about it, those two missed FT’s are the real reason Nelson and Mullin are down on him this year. I think they lost all confidence in him after that happend, as did I.

  • Ewok

    There’s a few solutions that I can think of, Lessen Matt Barnes minutes to favor Pietrus, Create a Pietrus, Monta Ellis combo to give Baron Davis and Capt. Jack some rest.

    I really think Pietrus is better than Matt Barnes but I respect the coach’s discretion.

    If Worst comes to worse, then Trade him for someone who can give us a push this playoffs, Tyron Lue?

    Dang! Were having difficutly in giving Pietrus minutes, I could just imagine what Brendan Wright feels along with Perovic and Bellineli.

    Nelly has to have a program for the rookies. There’s nothing like giving them a chance to prove their stock.

  • Bayarea Bob

    TRADE MP for Devean George and a 1st.

    the 1st is to help make the Kidd trade happen.

    sounds reasonable.

  • http://www.rebootshow.com Rio

    MP has rocks in his brain. He has the basketball IQ equivalent to a hamster. Trade him for Flyin’ Ryan Lorthridge and a Jim Peterson jersey.

  • goingforthemoney.com

    The Warriors don’t have to do a thing. There is nothing we can get for MP that will help us right know anyway, so the W’s might as well keep him and start playing Kelenna more. He is much more reliable as he comes up clutch. Furthermore the Warriors just have to be patient. If it ain’t a mobile big man they might as well remain status quo. Remember we got Baron, Harrington and Jackson when we least expected it. We don’t need another 6’7″ or under to fill our roster. We’re one legitimate big away from contending with the big boys. Patients!

  • manhattanproj

    well, villanueva is softer than marshmellow. bad work ethic. if jerry colangelo doesnt want him, there may be a reason to it. he’s certainly not a better rebounder than al. but he’s worth a shot.

    if pietrus has his head right, not try to be jordan, i think he’s a very good player. he can be a lock down defender and a pretty good rebounder. when he thinks he can be a scorer, that’s when he gets into trouble. if he can get his head to play like bruce bowen, battier, like the unsung guys, he can be a key contributor. but he wants the glory and the all star accolades, then he gets into trouble. remember just a few years ago, we, the w’s fans, were saying pietrus should replace jrich.

  • Ricky

    PLAY AZUBUIKE

  • jaysohn

    Replace JRich?? Who the ever said or thought that? And someone else said Pietrus is a very good player, are you kidding me. Man had it right, if he would concentrate more on his defense he could possible be a Bruce Bowen type but unfortunately he sees himself as more that. As a scorer, in his own words, an all-star. I just don’t see it. I think Azubuike is a better all around player who is more comfortable playing a supportive role.

  • SkeetMaster

    Trade Pietrus for Tony Parker’s wife…

  • traveler

    Pietrus sucks up salary cap room. its like having a dead plant inside your house.

  • DREDIZZLE

    The Warriors do not have to do anything and I understand there stance in a business sense yet we should get rid of Pietrus (the cancer/choker of our team). I do not like Villanueva because he just adds to the clutter of similar size players. I think we should try to trade Pietrus, O Bryant, and our 2nd rounder in any combinations for a decent player. Chris Duhon is a player that can run the PG and backup Baron, he can take minutes away from BD for a playoff push. Lowry can be had for Pietrus and a 2nd rounder, and even a if we give up a 1st…we would have a low cost player that fills a need. Its not like our 1st round pick next year will see the court.

  • S.Brent Lewis

    Kings might part with Brad Miller now that Bibby is gone. They might trade Brad Miller for Pietris and Harrington. The trade works according to the Trade
    Machine, Pietris wants out, and Harrington is the most expendable of any of the most valuable assests the Warriors have, especially if it is for a true
    center who can rebound, pass, and shoot. The Warriors need another center to guard bigger guys and still set up the other scorers on the team. Pietrus would be insurance for the loss of Artest, and is at least developing nicely as a defensive player, and Harrington would give them a younger player whos
    skills offensively have not yet peaked, and a sorely missed big three point shooter. Brad Miller would give the Warriors a chance with this great core of
    players still together. Chris Webber obviously won’t.

  • CalifOrange

    How about Pietrus for Hakim Warrick and Kyle Lowery?