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Old 07-08-2008, 06:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Orlando to sign Pietrus

The Orlando Magic have reached a verbal agreement with shooting guard Mickael Pietrus and expect to sign him to a multi-year contract today, general manager Otis Smith confirmed to FLORIDA TODAY.

Pietrus, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound shooting guard, is expected to earn almost all of the Mid-Level Exception, starting at 5.2 million next season. Pietrus, a native of Les Abymes, Guadeloupe, France, played all five of his NBA seasons with the Golden State Warriors.

The signing of Pietrus ends the Magicís chase of free-agent shooting guard Corey Maggette and could end their chances of retaining combo guard Keyon Dooling.

Pietrus is especially appealing to the Magic because of his ability to defend. He is a strong defender with a long wingspan, traits that appealed to Smith. Smith, who used to work with the Golden State Warriors, is quite familiar with Pietrusí toughness and defensive grit.

Smith said the Magic needed to upgrade their shooting guard position in order to make a dramatic improvement next season. He is expected to be the opening day starter at shooting guard.

``In the Eastern Conference you had better be able to defend that position. We think he can really help us do that. And he can shoot the 3.íí

The signing also means that last seasonís starting shooting guard, Maurice Evans, likely wonít return.

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