The Boston Celtics have traded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The Celtics also receive the Clippers’ (top-10 protected) 2012 first-round draft choice (whoop-dee fucking do) and traded Semih Erden/Luke Harangody to Cleveland for a second-round draft choice. Yay, in a really not-so-yay voice.
Which brings me to my reaction to the Perk trade: Why? The Celtics had the NBA’s best team. They were the league’s top title contenders, and Perkins was a big reason why. He was their only center I trusted to remain on the court (even after the ACL tear, and the recent MCL strain), and the O’Neal’s can’t stay healthy to save their lives. Jermaine O’Neal’s liable to aggravate his injury walking down stairs, and Shaq’s too big and fat to stay on the court for more than a week or two at a time.
The Celtics are great because they are big and tough, and they are big and tough in large part because of Kendrick Perkins. And now they trade him to Oklahoma City, for A) an undersized power forward who doesn’t play defense and doesn’t rebound, and B) a center whose toughest display was moronically throwing a chair at a Greek opponent? I just don’t get it. Talk me down from a ledge, please. Thinking about the prospect of Nenad Krstic defending Dwight Howard makes me want to throw myself under the nearest bus.
This trade only makes sense if A) the Celtics have complete faith that both O’Neal’s will return to perfect health this season — which makes no sense whatsoever, because they’re about as durable as a glass of water, B) Perkins’ strained MCL was worse than we expected — which makes no sense, because approximately two hours ago he said he might return during this Celtics’ road trip, C) Perk wasn’t going to sign in Boston after this season — which makes no sense, because he said he couldn’t see himself anyplace else, or D) Danny Ainge still has something up his sleeve, which would explain the Semih Erden/Harangody deal that opened up two roster spots.
If there’s no hidden aspect to this, Ainge just shipped Perkins (and Nate Robinson, who I’m actually quite happy is gone) for two players who may or may not completely destroy everything the Celtics stand for. The Celtics have spent all season talking about how they need better rebounding, then traded Perkins away while acquiring two Mark Blountian rebounders. The C’s future looks brighter, but this journey was always about now. Always. Don’t you remember last season, when Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum made the entire C’s frontcourt look like chumps? How do you think they’re going to make Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green look? Even Chris Bosh looks like the next coming of Charles Oakley when standing next to Krstic and Green.
Long story short, the C’s lost a large part of their identity through this trade. They’ll still remain a tough team. They’ll still have Kevin Garnett screaming his head off, and Paul Pierce battling off every injury that comes his way, and maybe even (on a healthy day) Shaq enforcing the paint. But Kendrick Perkins, as limited as he was offensively, and as much as he refused to keep the basketball high, was the Celtics’ toughness personified. He’ll be missed all the time, but especially in the playoffs, when the Celtics look across the court to see Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum looking back at them.
I don’t know where Ainge is going with this, but I assume he has a plan. I just can’t see it, right now. Not at all.
And so I scowl, in honor of Kendrick Perkins. A man who helped bring a title to Boston. A man who may never be as appreciated as he was here. A man who just got shipped away to Oklahoma City, and may take the Celtics’ 2011 NBA championship with him.