Marquis Daniels 'definitely' able to play next season

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Marquis Daniels 'definitely' able to play next season

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @sherrodbcsn
The last time Boston Celtics fans saw Marquis Daniels on a basketball floor, the versatile wingman had to be carried out of the TD Garden on a stretcher after suffering a bruised spinal cord.

Daniels' fans, as well as the Celtics, didn't know if he would ever play again.

He isn't totally back to full strength, but he's now at a point where his agent, Mark Bartelstein, tells CSNNE.com that Daniels will "definitely" be able to play next season.

And it's not totally out of the question that the 6-foot-6 forward could return to Boston, either.

"When the time comes, he's going to look at and explore all his options," Bartelstein said. "But Boston is certainly a team he knows well, has a great amount of respect for and really enjoyed his time there."

Bartlestein said Daniels will have another check-up in a couple weeks.

"He can do some light work now, but after that, he should be able to go all-out," Bartelstein said.

While Daniels' versatility is coveted, his track record with injuries raises a number of concerns.

During the 2009-2010 season -- his first season with the Celtics -- he missed 31 games with an assortment of injuries with the most serious being a wrist injury that required surgery. He eventually returned, only to suffer a neck injury in the playoffs. This past season, Daniels' spinal cord injury ended his season after just 49 games. It marked the third straight season that Daniels missed significant time due to injury (he appeared in 54 games during the 2008-2009 season in Indiana).

Even though Daniels' play was inconsistent at times last season, it was clear that he was more comfortable and played with greater confidence having had a year under his belt in the Celtics' system.

"I was just trying to fit in (during the first year with the Celtics)," Daniels said prior to suffering a bruised spinal cord injury against Orlando on Feb. 6. "They look for me now; just knowing your role and accepting it."

Daniels did just that, with the Celtics posting a 37-12 record with him in the lineup last season.

Even with a clean bill of health, it is unclear if the Celtics will pursue Daniels when the free agency period begins.

It usually begins July 1, but with the Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire June 30, it's unclear when teams can begin negotiating with free agents.

If Boston elects to bring Daniels back for a third stint, they will likely do it in addition to adding another player who can play the wing position. That could give the Celtics a similar 1-2 punch off the bench at the wing position, similar to what they had two years ago with Daniels and Tony Allen (now with the Memphis Grizzlies).

Another factor that can't be ignored when talking about a potential return by Daniels, is head coach Doc Rivers.

Despite his ups and downs with the Celtics, Rivers maintained a high level of confidence in Daniels.

"I just know what he has," Rivers said of Daniels this past season. "You know the old saying with coaches: 'You don't coach a player to what he is today. You coach him to what you think he should be someday.' I just think he can do that a lot, and I think he wants to do that."

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

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.”