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.

Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

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Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement. 

In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination. 

Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.

How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

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How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
 
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
 
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
 
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
 
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
 
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
 
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
 
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
 
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
 
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
 
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
 
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
 
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
 
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
 
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
 
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
 
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
 
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”