July 21, 2007
By Michael Cunningham | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
After missing out on several free-agent point guards, the Heat hopes for better results in acquiring Golden State forward Mickael Pietrus.
Heat General Manager Randy Pfund and Golden State are in discussions for a sign-and-trade involving Pietrus. The first element of such a deal is Pietrus' desire to join the Heat.
Pietrus' agent, Happy Walters, said Friday that South Florida is the preferred destination for the restricted free agent.
"We hope so," Walters said. "That is our wish. Mickael would like to be there."
Pietrus, 25, fulfills Pat Riley's desire for a young, athletic swingman. Pietrus had the most productive of his four NBA seasons in 2006-07, averaging 11.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 49 percent from the field.
Walters said a deal for Pietrus is complicated by the fact Pietrus is a restricted free agent. The Warriors extended Pietrus a one-year, $3.5 million tender, and can match any offer sheet Pietrus signs with another team.
Pietrus would have to negotiate a new, long-term deal before a trade unless the Heat is willing to risk losing Pietrus after one season. Further complicating the issue is the Heat is near the luxury-tax threshold, with any payroll above it taxed at 100 percent, and Golden State can afford to wait on making a decision on Pietrus.
Heat unrestricted free agent forward James Posey likely would be included as part of a trade with the Warriors. Golden State has been in talks with Posey and acquiring him in a sign-and-trade would allow the Warriors more flexibility in the contract it can offer, which is the main incentive for a sign-and-trade.
In that scenario, Pietrus essentially would replace Posey and departed free agent Jason Kapono at small forward. Pietrus shot 39 percent on 3-pointers last season, far below Kapono's league-leading 51 percent but comparable to Posey's 38 percent.
Pietrus (whose name is pronounced MY-kel PEET-rus) played four seasons in his native France before joining Golden State. He's started 81 of 244 NBA games but had his minutes reduced significantly during Golden State's run to the Western Conference semifinals.
Earlier in the week, Pietrus told the San Francisco Chronicle he's disappointed the Warriors haven't said he's in their plans while also putting off teams interested in acquiring him in a trade. Walters said he's still optimistic the Heat can figure out a way to get Pietrus.
"Randy [Pfund] is the best at making things work," he said. "The guy is a genius. I'm sure if it can be done, he'll do it."
PFUND GETS EXTENSION
The Heat announced it signed Pfund to a contract extension. Terms of the extension weren't disclosed.
Pat Riley, the team president, has final say in all personnel decisions, but Pfund serves as his top aide in basketball operations.
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