Janny Hu, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Not even the calm waters of the Caribbean are soothing Mickael Pietrus' angst at how the Warriors are handling his restricted free agency.
Nearly three weeks after teams were allowed to begin negotiating with player representatives, Pietrus said Tuesday that the Warriors have neither actively engaged his agents about a new multiyear contract nor pursued several sign-and-trade scenarios that other clubs have broached.
"I'm just a little disappointed that the Golden State Warriors haven't seriously discussed keeping me in Oakland while other teams" are interested, Pietrus said from his island home in Guadeloupe.
"They've been talking to my agent ... but the thing is, they haven't discussed if they want me, if I'm a part of the future. I like coach Don Nelson, I like Chris Mullin, but right now, their decision seems to be holding me back."
Golden State has the right to match any offer Pietrus receives after extending a one-year tender worth about $3.5 million last month. But recent talks have been unproductive with agents Happy Walters and Bill McCandless, who say they are stuck in "purgatory" while the Warriors contemplate their next roster move.
It's a Catch-22 familiar to most restricted free-agency cases: Interested teams are reluctant to tie up salary-cap space by signing players to offer sheets, then waiting out the seven-day period his original team has to match.
Yet unlike Cleveland's vow to retain free-agent forward Anderson Varejao, the Warriors have made no such public or private proclamation about Pietrus, leaving the forward in limbo for the time being.
"Mickael's biggest cause of unease is that to date, what we have are teams saying, 'We'd like to do this,' " McCandless said. "And the Warriors are saying, 'Well, we need to think about it.'
"The question is how long you need to think about it. Do the Warriors need another week to think about it or another month to think about it? Let's try to come to some" resolution.
"Others teams, Miami, Cleveland, Dallas, they've been asking about a sign-and-trade that could be interesting for me, so I'm just waiting," said Pietrus, who didn't hide his affection for the trio of teams.
Part of the issue, however, is that the Heat, Cavaliers and Mavericks are all toeing the luxury-tax line, so it's unlikely they would sign Pietrus outright with all or part of their midlevel exception and have his salary effectively doubled through tax penalties. The Warriors also have little incentive to work out a sign-and-trade if they don't think it will benefit the team.
McCandless says he understands the Warriors' strategy in waiting out the market, but remains frustrated by their noncommittal behavior. Golden State officials declined comment through a team spokesperson.
Briefly: Mark Bartelstein, who represents free-agent forward James Posey, said Tuesday there was nothing new to report after the Warriors muddled the status of Pietrus and unrestricted free agent Matt Barnes by meeting with Posey in Las Vegas on Friday. "We're just talking to a bunch of people," Bartelstein said. Meanwhile, Dan Fegan, who represents Barnes and has a long history with the Warriors, was tight-lipped about where the ongoing negotiations stood with Mullin. "He's professional and deliberate, and we're working through the Matt Barnes situation in that manner," Fegan said.
E-mail Janny Hu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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