Celtics targets: Michael Redd, Grant Hill, Tayshaun Prince?
|08.10.11 at 10:52 am ET|
Whether or not they can get a deal done after the NBA lockout, the Celtics will be in prime position this summer to encourage prominent free agents Michael Redd, Grant Hill and Tayshaun Prince to at least consider signing in Boston if and when the season begins.
I’ve heard Milwaukee Bucks management approached Michael Redd before the lockout about returning for another season, although my impeccable sources insist he’s going to wind up with one of the Eastern Conference’s title contenders.
Redd averaged 20-plus points for six straight seasons from 2003-08 before suffering a series of knee injuries that kept him from 185 games over the final three years of a six-year, $90.9 million deal with the Bucks. Playing the final 10 games of this past season, he averaged 4.4 points (40.0 FG%) and 1.2 assists in 13.4 minutes.
Assuming Redd targets legit Eastern Conference title contenders, that should limit his potential landing spots to Boston, Miami and Chicago. While the Heat and Bulls could offer Redd more playing time, no team would allocate much more than the veteran minimum to the almost 32-year-old shooting guard — and the Celtics have one appeal those other teams don’t: Redd’s old friend and former Bucks teammate Ray Allen.
During a Celtics road trip to Milwaukee in March, Allen and Redd shared dinner the night before the C’s defeated the Bucks, discussing their three seasons together from 2000-03. Here’s what Allen told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about that conversation:
“I haven’t seen Mike in maybe a year or so. I told him I miss him because I hadn’t seen him in awhile and I hadn’t been able to talk to him. So we had a chance to sit down and talk about a lot of things that occurred in the past, things we enjoyed.
“We had great times and great teammates. We talked about old teammates and great moments, and he’s still the same guy that he was when I remember him first coming into the league.
“I told him that whatever goes on here for the rest of the season, he’s back now and I said from a player perspective, you have to get everybody on the same page and you have to create a ship that’s unsinkable and you have to make sure that you make all the young guys understand what winning is about.
“You may not win the game but understand how to do things the right way when you get in that locker room together. Because he’s been gone, so you see certain things that are happening and as a veteran player, you have to make sure everyone is on the same page. That’s what he has to institute once he gets back.”
You’ve got to admit, it would be hard for any member of another Eastern Conference team — including the Hawks, Magic or Knicks — to pitch Redd better than Allen. But would the Celtics actually want another aging, injury-plagued player on the roster? If Redd’s willing to sign for the veteran minimum, it might be worth the risk for a guy who could provide shooting (38.3 career 3P%) and scoring in limited minutes off the bench.
As big an attraction as Duke figures to be in China, the Blue Devils‘ traveling party won’t lack for celebrity, either.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday that he expects former players Grant Hill, Jay Williams, Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving to join the team for part or all of the upcoming trip to China and Dubai, as will Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose son Austin Rivers is a freshman guard for the Blue Devils.
Duke will leave Sunday for a two-week tour that will include three games against Chinese teams and a fourth against the national team of the United Arab Emirates.
Considering Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge once got fined $30,000 after he was randomly seated next to Kevin Durant‘s mother during a University of Texas game, I’m not sure where Doc’s presence on a two-week trip with the Duke basketball team falls under the NBA’s rules against contact between team executives and potential NBA draft picks. Then again, the NBA doesn’t actually exist right now, and they can’t really tell him he can’t hang out with his son, right?
Anyhow, the Celtics coach will have plenty of time to lure Hill, who played four seasons for Rivers on the Magic from 2000-04. We featured the 38-year-old swingman as a prime target among potential C’s free agent options at backup small forward. Here’s the lowdown on Hill from that piece:
- Status: Unrestricted
- 2010-11 averages (80 games): 30.1 MIN, 13.2 PTS, 4.2 REB, 2.5 AST, 48.4 FG%, 39.5 3P%, 82.9 FT%
- Why? Like Tracy McGrady, Hill has played for Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the past and recently told The Globe, ‘He was great, still is, he’s a friend.’ One of the most respected veterans in the league, Hill can still produce in every aspect of the game ‘ scoring, rebounding, passing and, most importantly, defending.
- Why not? When Shaquille O’Neal said Father Time had caught up to him, he could have been talking about Hill, who will turn 39 in October. While Hill has been relatively healthy over the course of his four-year stint in Phoenix, he has a lengthy injury history that includes 135 missed games from 2000-06 in Orlando.
Finally, we move to Prince and something that struck me while putting together “10 Things I Heard About Celtics.” Both Celtics All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo and All-Star power forward Kevin Garnett will be in communication with Prince this summer. While Rondo’s encounter will be a brief one — during an exhibition game between former University of Kentucky stars and the Dominican Republic national team — Garnett’s tie to Prince appears to be an extended one. Both players are reportedly training with Joe Abunassar at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas during the offseason.
The Celtics were among a slew of teams expect to be interested in Prince when rumors flew around that the Pistons may have been considering buying out the remainder of his $11.1 million contract around this past trade deadline. We also featured the 31-year-old forward as a prime target among potential C’s free agent options. Here’s the lowdown on Prince from that piece:
- Status: Unrestricted
- 2010-11 averages (78 games): 32.8 MIN, 14.1 PTS, 4.2 REB, 2.8 AST, 47.3 FG%, 34.7 3P%, 70.2 FT%
- Why? A starter on the Pistons’ 2004 NBA championship squad, Prince’s length and athleticism has made him a pest defensively to opposing small forwards like Paul Pierce. He also takes care of the ball and fills the bucket offensively.
- Why not? At 6-foot-9 and just 215 pounds, Prince has always been extremely skinny, and back problems that flared up during the 2009-10 season somewhat limited his ability to get to the rim offensively and keep up defensively.
Obviously, nothing can officially be done with Redd, Hill or Prince until the NBA and its players association come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, but it’s important to note that the Celtics coach and his all-star players could plant the seed sooner with a trio of potentially valuable additions — just as they did with past veteran additions Rasheed Wallace, Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal, James Posey, Eddie House, Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown.