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.”