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Michael Redd hoping to revive career in Phoenix
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Michael Redd hoping to revive career in Phoenix

There was a time when Michael Redd was considered to be
one of the best players in the NBA, a great scorer who
could shoot from pretty much anywhere on the floor.

That, however, was more than four years ago, and since
then the former All-Star has battled multiple knee
injuries, ailments that essentially robbed him of the last
three seasons.

Redd says he’s healthy now, and the newest Phoenix Sun is
excited to be in the Valley to play basketball.

“I’m excited to a part of this organization,” he said.
“For years I’ve admired the city of Phoenix and the
organization.”

Redd spent the last 11 seasons playing for the Milwaukee
Bucks, where he posted a career .449 shooting mark while
averaging 20 points per game. He’s hit on 38 percent of
his threes, and would have been one of the most sought-
after free agents if not for those knees.

But that’s just it with Redd. While once a great player,
nobody is really quite sure what he’ll be able to do once
he returns to the court this time around. He’s been
working out all summer, but didn’t start playing with
contact until recently.

“[I] had contact the other day for the first time and I
didn’t even think about my knees,” Redd said. “It wasn’t
even a thought, which is good for me, not being in that
mindset of worrying about this move or the next move.”

That’s a huge step for Redd, who admitted coming back from
an injury is as much mental as it is physical. Having not
played for so long, he doesn’t have the same wear and tear
a normal 32-year-old would have. In fact, Redd’s new
teammate Grant Hill went through similar circumstances in
his career.

“Grant was huge,” Redd said. “Last year we were in
Milwaukee and he came up to me and said you get those
years back.

“That was big of him to come and encourage me with that,
so I’ve seen his career be rebirthed and hopefully the
same can happen for me.”

Maybe it will happen. The Suns’ training staff is regarded
as one of the best in the NBA, and the team is hoping they
can do for Redd what they’ve done for players like Antonio
McDyess, Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill.

“Our guys are the best at putting a guy back in a position
where he can play,” Suns President of Basketball
Operations Lon Babby said. “I suspect this is hopefully
the next chapter in that kind of history…if anybody can do
it our guys can do it; if Mike’s willing to put in the
work, and I have no doubt he’s willing to put in the
work.”

Babby said Redd will begin to really put the work in
Sunday or Monday, when he joins his teammates. There is no
official timetable for when Redd will actually play, as
both he, Babby and Suns coach Alvin Gentry said the player
has to get into shape.

Once he does get into shape, though, Gentry said the hope
is Redd will provide the scoring punch he has throughout
his career.

“He brings a guy that can obviously shoot the ball from
deep, he’s very good at getting his shot off on screen and
rolls,” he said. “Hopefully he’ll add something to the
team for us.”

At the very least, Redd said he’s not worried about having
to find his shot.

“It’s like riding a bicycle, I’ve been shooting all
summer,” he said. “I’ve been shooting all summer, and
that’s all I’ve been doing, is playing, so hopefully it’s
there when game-time comes.”

The Suns could sure use the help. After averaging a measly
83.5 points in their first two games – well below their
traditional average – the team is looking for some
offensive firepower. But that’s not why the team signed
Redd, according to Babby.

“This is not in any way, shape or form a reaction to the
first couple of games,” he said. “It’s something we’ve
been talking about for a long time.”