Raptors sign Mickael Pietrus

raptors small logoIn an effort to close their gaping hole at small forward, the slumping Toronto Raptors on Friday signed veteran Mickael Pietrus.

No terms were disclosed. Pietrus spent last season with the Boston Celtics but was not re-signed. During the offseason, he was looking for either a multi-year deal or a one-year contract at more than the veteran’s minimum. The France native also contemplated playing in Europe.

In the offseason, the Raptors traded James Johnson to Sacramento and signed free agent small forward Landry Fields to a three-year, $19 million contract. Fields got off to a terrible start, averaging 2.4 points on 21 percent shooting in five games before being sidelined by an elbow injury. He is at least two weeks away from returning.

In Fields’ absence, the Raptors have used multiple players at small forward. Their best unit has been playing point guards Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon alongside each other while sliding shooting guard DeMar DeRozan to small forward.

Conventionally, Torono also has used offensive-minded Linas Kleiza (7.2 ppg) and defensive-minded Dominic McGuire (2.1 ppg) at small forward. McGuire, who has started nine of Toronto’s 15 games, was waived to make roster room for Pietrus.

The 6-6 Pietrus plays both ends of the floor. He has averaged 8.4 points while shooting 36 percent from 3-point range in 538 career games with Orlando, Golden State, Phoenix and Boston. Last season, he averaged  6.9 points in 22 minutes over 42 games for the Celtics.

The Raptors are 3-13 with six losses by five points or less or in overtime. They have lost six in a row and host Phoenix on Friday night.


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