Perkins, Rivers Still Recovering

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We all knew from the shock and immediate player and fan reaction that when Kendrick Perkins was traded from Boston to Oklahoma City on Feb. 24 that it must have a been an extremely difficult decision for the Celtics.

We just had no idea how truly difficult it was on both Perkins and Celtics coach Doc Rivers. They both opened up about it to Peter May of ESPNBoston.com. When is the last time you heard a coach talking about the decision to trade a player the way Rivers did here:

“It was the most difficult thing I have had to do since I’ve been in the league,” Rivers said. “It was like sending one of your kids [away]. It can be very hard to separate the basketball from the personal and this one was definitely that for me. Perk had great spirit. He had the intangibles you look for. We all decided to make the trade, but, for me, it hurt. It hurt a lot.”

The pain went both ways.

Perkins used words like “overwhelmed”  and “emotional” to describe his reaction, initially and to this day, about the deal that sent the Celtics’ low-post enforcer and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City in an exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.

But unlike some other trades that leave scars that never heal, Perkins, Rivers and the organization are all healing from the whatever the initial surprise did to them all.

In fact, Perkins said he learned a few lessons about the business of basketball during the process. It can’t hurt that he went from one contender to another. The Thunder, fresh off of last night’s win in Miami, are 7-1 this month. And Perkins has already signed a contract extension with the Thunder. Still, the connection to Boston remains:

“Obviously, I am going to miss Boston a lot,” he said. “I talked to Danny [Ainge] on the phone the day the deal was done. It was hard for both of us. We go back a long way. But I understand that this is the business part of it. “I look back and I have to be pleased with everything they did for me, from bringing me there from high school. I am grateful for all the experiences, to be able to be a part of a championship team. It was all great. No complaints. I was blessed to be there for eight years.”

8 Comments

  1. Zzanzabar says:

    No matter how positive the spin, this was a ‘business’ decision that will bode poorly for the Celtics. The difference from what Perkins wanted and was Boston was able to pay was a ‘mere’ 3 million or so a year. All he wanted was a raise (that was well deserved) from the 5.6 million he was getting which would have made his value closer to what Lamar Odom is making coming off the bench. Boston was not willing to go over their limit nor were they willing to wait until the end of the season to see how things would work out.

    Before you start moaning about how players have too much power in the league, people should take this case as a wake up call. Here is a player that was TOTALLY loyal to the club that nurtured him, had settled down in the city of Boston and didn’t ever dream of leaving. All he wanted was a decent raise for his job skills, yet was unceremoniously uprooted for a couple of players and a small savings.

    If Boston should lose to a team with a good center then this decision will haunt them for years to come (good centers are HARD to find).

    • Kingsfan says:

      @ Zz

      Well the whole NBA is a business. So of course it was a business decision. But from I have read, Perkins was looking for more like 7 to 8 million a year. That’s more than just a minor raise. And with the salaries being paid out to Garnett, Pierce and Allen there wasn’t much room to give. Also take into consideration the big raise that Rondo should be getting. Everyone is still saying the Big 3 or what not, the future of the celtics rest solely on Rondo’s shoulders in my opinion.

      You mention that it won’t bode well for the Celtics, I agree partially because losing a center like that is a huge ding. But when you look at the future and moving forward, Green is a great young talent and is the heir to KG’s throne. Bringing him into to play underneath KG and learn the game may make this trade worth while.

      • Zzanzabar says:

        @Kingsfan

        Ok, I’ll give you that about the Celtics and their future with Green, but it is hard to think of them losing Perkins as part of that deal. Did I get it wrong? Didn’t Perkins sign an extended contract for about 7 or 8 million per year? Centers of his quality are making about that or slightly more and aside from Pierce, Allen and Garnett are about at their limit in terms of being real factors in their team (OK, Garnett MIGHT still have a little in his tank), but Perkins was a young stud with tons of upside.

      • Kingsfan says:

        @ Zz – It’s definetly hard to see them lose Perkins. I’m not a Celtic fan but I loved their team. He only signed that deal because of the trade though. The Celtics weren’t prepared to give him that much. And I agree most centers make that if not more but I think it was part of a bigger picture. Why do you think they added the O’neals at Kmart prices?

        And yes, the Celtics better start thinking future. Garnett has some more to give, but you can tell Pierce is losing a step and Allen won’t be able to take running around the court like a wild man for too many more years. On the bright side, they have Rondo and now Green. Some great pieces to rebuild. Davis is ok but undersized and kind of soft. They have couple more runs with this group before the C’s better start thinking about new pieces to the puzzle.

        So trading Perkins wouldn’t have been my ideal choice, but if you were going to lose him to free agency may as well get something out of it. That’s exactly what Denver did. They were going to lose melo, so why not bring in some talent and get some draft picks out of it.

        I wasn’t disagreeing with your point that Perkins was the better piece to keep, just saying that sometimes you have to do what you can do to salvage a sinking ship. Green might just be the best life boat they could have gotten out of Perk.

  2. Joel says:

    I was sad when i knew that Perkins will be out from Celtics. i am fun of Celtics and i believe he is a great help for Boston to win the championship. Last 2010, if Perkins was not injured i think boston will win the over Lakers. His defense and rebound really helps to win the game. but anyway, its good also that OKC has him to give a chance for finals and at the same time Boston will make a try if they win without Perkins.

    We will just see it in the finals.

  3. Kingsfan says:

    Well this is a very tough situation. The Celtics needed Perkins to win a title this year but in the same breath they weren’t willing to pay him what he deserve come extension time. So you trade some one you are going to lose and get Green in return(Kristic and Robinson pretty much an even trade). Lose your shot at the title this year but pave the way with a future piece.

    I think it was a good move for both teams. OKC had hte money to pay perkins and it was a piece they were missing. Boston was going to lose him anyways so they got a great piece in Green.

    I think the main issue is that it took Boston’s chance of winning a title away and put OKC in position to win a title very soon.

    • Manu says:

      Krstic is much better for the Celtics than Robinson. Robinson was a defensive liabiloty (even Devin Harris was easily posting him up) who jacked up too many bricks. He wasn’t even making wide-open shots. He seems like a great character to have around but he was nowhere near as important to Boston as Krstic is.

      • Kingsfan says:

        I meant it was an even trade that both are role players. Both bring something different to the table. I wasn’t comparing their talents just roles.(granted they are different roles)