OFFSEASON

Bucks' Michael Redd works toward a return

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Bucks' Michael Redd works toward a return

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The sweat is pouring off the forehead of Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Redd like a leaky faucet . . . and he couldn't be any happier.

Missing 103 games (and counting) plus the playoffs a year ago will make any NBA player -- especially a former All-star -- eager to get back on the floor.

And when he returns, Redd is eager to show that the high-scoring shooting guard that used to be the face of the Fear the Deer movement is back which, truth be told, was very much in doubt.

Shortly after surgery to repair a second torn ACL and MCL injury to his left knee just a year apart from each other, Redd had a bunch of questions for the attending physicians.

There was just one that truly mattered.

"I asked them, 'Would I be able to come back and play my game?' " Redd recalled to CSNNE.com prior to Boston's 87-56 win over Milwaukee on Sunday. "That was a determining factor for me. If I wasn't going to be able to play my game, I don't know if I would have come back. The doctor said you should be able to do everything you did before the injury."

The first chance of that happening will be later this month.

Redd told CSNNE.com he's targeting March 20 against the New York Knicks or March 23 against the Sacramento Kings -- both home games for Milwaukee -- to make his return to the court.

The fact that Redd is even thinking about playing basketball still is amazing when you consider he has suffered a torn ACL and MCL injury in his left knee twice.

"I've had one torn ACL injury," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "That's all you need. You don't need more than one in your lifetime."

After the first one in 2009, Redd simply chalked it up as being one of those things.

But to suffer a second torn ACL and MCL injury a year later, had him asking a lot of questions that, truth be told, there are no answers forthcoming.

"The question did cross my mind, 'Why me?' " Redd said. "I worked so hard."

During those grueling rehabilitation sessions, Redd said one of the people that reached out to him was Grant Hill.

The two talked about Hill's struggles in Orlando with injuries that essentially kept Hill off the floor for three seasons, and how Hill turned that setback into the launching pad for what has been a solid NBA career since.

"I believe I'm going to help some young person whose dealing with injuries, come back," Redd said.

Returning to the basketball court would make Redd's story a successful one in itself.

But his goals are so much greater than that.

A former second round pick in the 2000 draft, Redd is a career 20.3 points per game scorer and a former All-Star (2004).

With Andrew Bogut established at center and Brandon Jennings emerging as one of the better point guards in the Eastern Conference, Redd returning to near All-Star form would bode well for the Bucks' chances of finishing the season strong and getting into the playoffs.

But Redd is smart enough to know that he's not going to immediately return and play at the same level he did prior to the second left knee injury.

"You gotta get a rhythm," he said. "Hopefully I can find my rhythm quicker than normal. I'm just glad to be back. But the goal for me is not to just come back and play, but to be an elite player once again; back to where I was."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

OFFSEASON

If not this year for Durant-to-Celtics, then next?

If not this year for Durant-to-Celtics, then next?

BOSTON – The Celtics are considered long shots at landing Kevin Durant during free agency, which begins next week.

Still, if they come up short this summer, league sources tell CSNNE.com that the Celtics will be on a “watch list” of sorts by Durant’s camp when the former league MVP is expected to hit the free agent market once again in the summer of 2017.
 
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant will have teams meet with him in New York beginning next week. In addition to the Celtics, his current team Oklahoma City will sit down with him, as well as Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.
 
Durant can re-sign with the Thunder for as many as five years with the total value of his contract worth slightly more than $150 million.
 
However, by signing a one-year deal or a two-year pact with a player option for the second season, Durant would make a projected $25.9 million for the 2016-2017 season and can then hit the free agent market again in 2017 when the salary cap is expected to cross the nine-figure threshold.
 
And at that time, if he decides to stay with the Thunder, he can ink a five-year deal that, when combined with his salary in 2016-2017, would be more than $230 million over six years – that’s about $80 million more than he would get by re-signing a long-term deal with the Thunder now, and would more than double what he would make by signing a maximum-salaried four-year deal with another team.
 
That’s why it makes a lot of sense for him to sign a short-term deal now and better position himself for a bigger payday the following summer when his starting salary will likely be on the north side of $35 million.
 
For the Celtics, Durant going through free agency back-to-back years affords coach Brad Stevens and the Celtics one more opportunity to continue their ascension up the Eastern Conference standings while still being a team that’s clearly in need of adding at least one additional All-Star talent to play with Isaiah Thomas.

In his three seasons as the Celtics coach, Stevens has improved the team’s win total each season.
 
However, they have failed to win a playoff series after having been knocked out in the first round each of the past two seasons.
 
While Durant is the team’s No. 1 priority on the free agent market, the Celtics will quickly pivot their attentions to other highly-regarded players as well with Atlanta’s Al Horford being among their targets.

Depending on how quickly Durant’s free agency gets taken care of, the Celtics might be able to turn their attention towards potentially re-signing Evan Turner, who was sixth in the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year voting last season.

OFFSEASON

Celtics' Isaiah Thomas continues recruitment of Durant with tweet

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Celtics' Isaiah Thomas continues recruitment of Durant with tweet

With the Celtics reportedly in the running in the Kevin Durant Derby, C's guard Isaiah Thomas is continuing his recruiting pitch with this playful tweet.

Thomas said in a radio interview earlier this week that the Celtics "definitely have a shot" at landing Durant and a few months ago, Thomas' essay in the Players Tribune is perhaps his best sales job of all.