Most of us moved past the Kendrick Perkins/Jeff Green trade a while ago. Pre-trade 2010 isn’t walking through that door, and even if it did, given Perk’s OKC production, we may not like what we see.
But for Jeff Green, the trade is still very much a part of his everyday life. Reporters still ask him about it. Fans still base their expectations for him on it. And because of the timing of the trade in 2011 and his heart surgery in ’11-’12, he still hasn’t faced his old teammates in OKC since he was dealt. So it would be understandable if Green was still fairly interested in the Thunder.
But if he is to be believed, he doesn’t watch OKC at all. From The Boston Herald:
“Do I still look at what Oklahoma City does? No,” a nearly expressionless Green said.
Did he keep track of them for a time after the trade?
“I mean, I’m in a great situation here. This is a great fit for myself, coming to a situation where I’m playing alongside Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo.”
And then more from Green on Perkins.
“He’s a good guy, and I respect him. He’s an awesome big. To me, he’s one of the best bigs in the game, because he plays both ends hard — and that’s what I like. I respect him for that. We had a chance to shoot the (expletive) a little bit. We talked about how people reacted to the trade and some other stuff. That’s about it.”
These quotes, which have been passed around the internet quite a bit already, are an interesting example of how much emphasis we place on narrative in the NBA. Green answered at least seven or eight leading questions that seemed to be trying to get him to say he still cares about OKC. He never said that he did. He said that he is still friendly with Kevin Durant, but frankly, who ISN’T friendly with Kevin Durant? He said that he has had a friendly conversation with Kendrick Perkins about the trade and the various reactions to it. But he never gave the interviewer(s?) any indication that this game meant more than Wednesday’s match-up with San Antonio. Just another late November tilt against a dangerous Western Conference contender.
But basketball writers (myself included) chase the narrative. It makes for a better human interest story if Green was feeling conflicted or confused or upset or nostalgic. He has comfortably moved on? Not as interesting, keep poking an prodding until you get a usable quote. Appropriately, nobody really cares about ambivalence.
Anyway. For Green’s sake (and for ours), I hope he plays a thoroughly remarkable game on the court tonight, and I hope afterward he has absolutely nothing remarkable to say.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.