Michael Redd: "I don't want to go anywhere"
Michael Redd: I think the rest I got at the All-Star break really, really helped me. I did nothing during the All-Star break. I didn't go out; I just stayed in my basement (at his parent's home in Columbus, Ohio) for four or five days and relaxed. I feel good now, real good.
Last year, the Bucks surprised a lot of the so-called experts by making the playoffs. This year, many of those same mavens predicted the Bucks would make the playoffs. But your team is 4 1/2 games out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and making the playoffs will be difficult. Why have the Bucks struggled so much this season?
MR: There have been a number of things. Injuries have definitely been a part of that. And we didn't have good team chemistry for a while, although that's starting to come around now. But we just haven't had the chemistry like we did last year.
The Bucks have made the playoffs in three of the four seasons you've been on the team. How disappointing would it be for you if the Bucks didn't make it this season?
MR: It would hurt a lot. That's what you work for over the summertime, making the playoffs and winning a championship. That's your goal every year. Hopefully, we can still make the playoffs. But if we didn't, I'd be devastated.
At the trading deadline in February, the Bucks made two significant deals to free up money to re-sign you this summer, sending Keith Van Horn to Dallas and Mike James to Houston. What kind of message did that send you?
MR: It was a tremendous message. Tremendous. It showed a commitment. I've said all along I want to be here. Hopefully, we can get something done.
You said last month that you wanted to retire as a Buck. Do you still feel that way?
MR: Yeah, that's the goal. I don't want to go anywhere. A lot of guys go from team to team in their careers and I think guys, believe it or not, want to get their jerseys retired at the end of their career.
So you have every intention of re-signing with the Bucks?
MR: I hope so. I want to get it done.
Having said that, will you still listen to offers from other teams during free agency?
MR: That's the beauty of free agency. Obviously, other teams will come after me. But we'll deal with that when it comes.
A lot of NBA fans, and even NBA officials, are skeptical about players saying they want to remain with their respective team, especially after Carlos Boozer left Cleveland last summer for Utah. Should people be skeptical about your comments?
MR: You have to do what's best for your family. People, I'm sure, realize this is a business move, that it's a big decision in your life.
What are the odds of you re-signing with the Bucks?
MR: I don't know. I hope they're good.
It isn't uncommon for players from other teams to recruit potential free agents. Have any players talked to you about joining their team?
MR: Yeah. A lot of guys from other teams have mentioned that. But you shrug it off. A lot of that can be a ploy to soften you up against them. But I'm not going to let that happen. I'm going to keep attacking. But, yeah, there have been people who have talked to me about that.
There was a report in the Miami Herald that you and Desmond Mason were out partying into the wee hours in Miami the night before you played the Heat. In that game, you went 5-for-13 from the field and had just 14 points. Was there any truth to the story?
MR: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Anybody who knows me, or knows Desmond, know our characters and our integrity. We would never do anything like that. It's not even in our blood to do that. So for something like that to come out is bogus, totally bogus.
Do reports like that upset you?
MR: No, because I know me. I know where I was, and I know what I was doing, and that was sleeping. It's just a shame they do low stuff like that, but that's part of being an NBA player or being in the spotlight. Things like that are going to happen. To me, I pretty much laughed it off because I knew it wasn't true.
You, more than a lot of players, truly care about your reputation, don't you?
MR: I do. But it's not the first time people have said something bad about me, so I just take it with a grain of salt.
You've always conducted yourself well off the court, but you have conducted yourself well on the court as well. I can't recall you ever receiving a technical foul for arguing with an official. Have you ever received a T?
MR: I don't think I have, not for arguing a call. I don't think I've ever had one in high school or college, either. I think that's how you build a good rapport with the referees. You approach things with a referee like a man and you approach referees respectfully, even when you do get mad.
What does Bucks' management have to do during the offseason to make this team more formidable?
MR: If I was the general manager, I'd tell you. But I'm not the general manager. Obviously, that will be up to them to make those decisions. Right now, the focus of this team should be on winning and getting into the playoffs.
Has Bucks general manager Larry Harris sought your opinion on player personnel decisions?
MR: No, not really. They made moves at the trading deadline without talking to me about them. In fact, there were rumors about me leaving, so I wasn't involved in any of that.
Every year since you've been in the NBA, you have taken your game to another level. What do you want to improve on for next season?
MR: I need to get stronger. I need to continue to work on my shooting. I need to continue on my ability to make plays without scoring. I think I need to continue to work on everything, to be honest with you. I'll never be satisfied with my game. I want to have a breakout season every year. Very few guys can do that, but it's a goal of mine.
Gery Woelfel covers the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA for The Racine (Wis.) Journal Times
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