Losing Kendrick Perkins Doesn’t Matter
Even with Carmelo Anthony finally going to the Knicks and Deron Williams sudden trade to the Nets, the most talked about trade completed before Thursday’s deadline was the trade between the Celtics and Thunder. Boston sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
When the trade happened the general consensus amongst NBA pundits was that the Thunder had gotten the better end of the deal and that Danny Ainge was losing his marbles. You would’ve thought Kendrick Perkins was Kevin Garnett or some other essential piece to the line up the way Ainge was ripped mercilessly for trading a guy who has only played 12 games this season.
What was with the sudden love fest for Kendrick Perkins? One quote I heard was “How can Boston do this? This is really going to hurt them when it’s playoff time and they have to guard the Dwight Howard’s of the world.” Yes, he’s an intimidating defensive force who does a lot of the dirty work that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet but how essential is that when you have Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal? Or “Big Baby” Davis? Also mentioned nonstop is how “great” of an acquisition Perkins was for the Thunder, with ESPN’s Mark Jackson going so far as to say “This move puts them over the top and makes them a legit title contender.” Does anyone really believe this move was that significant? They were already title contenders without him.
The other aspect that has been consistently overlooked is that the aging Celtics got young swingman Jeff Green for two non vital players, each playing less than 20 minutes a game. Green is an extremely consistent scorer whose skills complement the Celtics core lineup as few additions could’ve; he’s not going to demand the ball and he can play three positions. Not only that but you throw in Krstic, a seven footer whose game is the opposite of Shaq or Perkins which gives the Doc Rivers and company even more matchup flexibility. And as far as Nate Robinson, the Celtics will miss him about as much as you’d miss that dog your wife made you buy after you “Kobe’d” her; they won’t even notice he’s gone.
We found out on Friday that Perkins also has a sprained MCL in his left knee and will miss the next two to three weeks. Its not career threatening like the torn MCL and PCL ligaments he suffered in his right knee which caused him to miss the first 47 games of the season. But, knee injuries and big men mix as well as Lindsay Lohan and $2,500 necklaces. I think Ainge knows that he’s gotten more than he probably ever expected from Perkins and now was the time to sell high. At the very least Krstic is a functional piece for the next three weeks without injury concerns. Ainge is the smartest dude in the room.
A month from now we’re going to look at this trade and think the Thunder got fleeced. Then, the Mark Jackson’s of the world will say, in unison, "I liked this trade for the Celtics the minute it happened." In the words of Bill Lumbergh from the movie Office Space, "Mmmmm, Yeahhhh."
(image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison])