Suns swingman Mickael Pietrus exercises option to stay with Phoenix

Phoenix Suns guard/forward Mickael Pietrus has exercised the one-year player option on his contract and will return to Phoenix for the 2010-11 season, the club announced today.

The 6-6, 215-pound swingman appeared in 38 games (4 starts) for the Suns, averaging 7.4 points and 2.2 rebounds.  An eight-year NBA veteran with Phoenix (2010-11), Orlando (2008-10)  and Golden State (2003-08), Pietrus owns career averages of 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds in 496 games (150 starts), and is a 35.9-percent three-point shooter.

Phoenix acquired Pietrus on Dec. 18, 2010 in a six-player trade with the Orlando Magic that included eight-time NBA All-Star Vince Carter, center Marcin Gortat, this year’s first-round draft pick and cash considerations in exchange for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark.

Pietrus, whose nationality and play earned him the nickname “Air France,” grew up in Les Abymes on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, which is located approximately 310 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  He left the island for France at the age of 15 to join the junior program of French powerhouse Pau Orthez (PO OR-tez), and played four seasons professionally for Pau Orthez after making his debut at the age of 17.

Pietrus, 28, was originally selected with the 11th overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors and spent his first five career seasons in Oakland before signing a free-agent deal with Orlando on July 10, 2008.  A key reserve during the Magic’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals, Pietrus averaged 10.5 points while appearing in all 24 games that postseason.

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