Antoine Walker's sights set on redemption

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Antoine Walker's sights set on redemption

Search NBA.com for Antoine Walker's profile, a page typically filled with career stats and personal information, and you'll be delivered this message: "Given player cannot be found."

Part Two of Greg Dickerson's two-part interview with Antoine Walker

A thirteen-year career, 17.5 points-per-game average and three NBA All-Star appearances wiped clean. Though a fresh start is what Walker seeks, it comes at the very bottom of what could be a long uphill climb. He's living in a two-bedroom apartment in Boise, Idaho, as a member of the NBDL's Stampede.

It looks and feels like a fresh start to Walker, but may only be nominal in the minds of NBA executives.

"For whatever reason with the negative publicity that's been behind me -- what's gone on off the court -- if that's the reason why I'm not playing in the NBA, I think that's unjust," Walker, 34, told CSNNE's Greg Dickerson.

That negative publicity largely stems from felony bad check charges he faced last year for allegedly failing to repay nearly 1 million in gambling debts and penalties to Las Vegas casinos. Mismanaged real-estate investments have also soured. But those issues are away from the court.

Walker is now working to prove he deserves another shot at the NBA. By playing for the Stampede, an NBDL team typically reserved for fringe players in their youth, he hopes to catch the eye of an NBA team in need of his services.

"It'd mean the world for me right now to get back, because it's what I love to do," said Walker. "I think I still have a lot of basketball left to play. I think I can still be competitive. I think, if I get with the right team, I can still win championships. It's just that I left the game not on my own merit . . .

"If a GM says to my face, 'Antoine, you can't play at this level anymore,' then it's time to do something else. But until I'm told that, I'm going to continue to try to fight and get there. But I'm not going to chase it; if it's not there, it's not there. But I'm going to work and give myself every opportunity to get back."

Filled with regret with how he left the NBA, Walker is hopeful a team will call on him this season or next.

For now, this given player can be found -- in Boise, Idaho.

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast is worth a listen, as it features plenty of talk about what the Celtics may or may not due ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Lowe brought up the possibility of the Celtics top-1 or top-2-protecting Brooklyn’s first-round pick and including it in a deal for Butler. He surmises that the inclusion of the Brooklyn pick -- protected or not -- might not come until the final minutes. 

“Look, if Butler gets traded or if Paul George gets traded, that’s when it’s going to happen,” Marc Stein responded. “It’s going to happen in the last five to 10 minutes, so Boston has to make a decision, and let's see if they’re doing the math that they’ve had these assets for a while and it is time to do something bold and the time is now. Really, I think Boston will do it. The question is what will Chicago or Indiana do? And those are two hard reads.” 

Stein spoke to the Celtics’ lack of activity at certain points, but he said that if the C’s do fail to come away with a star player Thursday, it won’t be for lack of aggressiveness. 

MORE TRADE TALK

“I think the Celtics are taking criticism for waiting, and they’ve had all these assets they haven’t moved yet, but I think the record shows that Danny Ainge in general, in total, is very aggressive, not afraid to roll the dice, not afraid to make the aggressive move,” Stein said. “So I have less doubt about Boston saying, ‘Let’s just do it.’ I have far more questions about what Chicago and/or Indiana would do.” 

Lowe said that he imagines the Bulls would “think about” trading the C's Butler if Boston threw in the Nets’ pick unprotected, but added that Chicago would demand to also take two players out of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. 

“I think that will be the offer and they’ll get there and Chicago will either have a moment where they say, ‘We walk away or we’ll do it.’ And Boston’s not going to throw in the other Nets pick,” Lowe said. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Rating the aforementioned foursome in terms of trade value, Lowe said that Crowder is the best piece because of his “ridiculously good” contract, followed by Brown, Smart and Bradley. 

Lowe added that he considers Bradley one of the “sneaky interesting pieces at this trade deadline” because his contract is up after next season, which is the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract expires. Lowe says that given the uncertainty of his future in Boston, he wouldn’t be overly surprised if Bradley is moved at the deadline. 

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Will the Celtics part with the right to Brooklyn’s 2017 first-round pick in order to get a star before Thursday’s trade deadline? 

MORE TRADE TALK

Citing a pair of NBA executives, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote this week that Danny Ainge’s willingness to trade the pick should be in doubt.

Sola named Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Paul George as potential targets, adding that the C’s might include the latter.   

Wrote Isola: 

Two executives doubt that Ainge, who historically plays it close to the vest, would give up the Nets pick in a deal for Butler. However, Ainge might consider it in a trade for George, the Pacers-free agent-to-be who has expressed doubts over re-signing with the Pacers.

‘With Danny, no one ever knows what he might do,' said the executive. ‘He's one of the best. If he thinks he can make a run at the Cavs this season, considering all the injuries Cleveland has had, I can see him making a move.

‘Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper.’

This season, the 26-year-old George is averaging 22.3 points 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game.