Category: Sports Published on Thursday, 03 March 2011 04:20 Written by MATT TOTA - Staff Writer
Farewell Kendrick Perkins, for your gritty defense, powerful post presence, and unwavering work ethic, you’ll surely be missed. And for helping the Boston Celtics to bring home a 17th banner, you’ll always be remembered.
But now, it’s back to business.
In fact, business is what led Danny Ainge to trade the fan favorite in the first place. The always fearless General Manager didn’t want to have to deal with Perkins in free agency; given the state of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, he wasn’t going to throw millions of dollars at the soon-to-be free agent
Ainge, of course, recognizes what Perkins has done for the Celtics. He, like the rest of Celtic nation, knows that things could’ve gone differently in last year’s NBA finals had Perkins not been injured for game seven. But he’s also not overly obsessed with the past or “what if” scenarios. The trade proves this.
The Celtics want to win now; and for that they need more offensive production now.
You may not know who Jeff Green is now, but you will. Currently, he’s averaging a respectable 15.2 points per game and 5.60 rebounds per game. Green is listed as a small forward, but he stands at 6 feet 9 inches, so don’t expect him to be a slouch in the post. He provides the Celtics with something Perkins simply couldn’t: a dynamic offensive threat.
Green actually could’ve worn green. He was drafted by the Celtics in 2007 but immediately traded to the Bobcats for Ray Allen and a draft pick, which would ultimately turn out as Glen “Big Baby” Davis.
And the rest would be history.
This trade was, clearly, calculated. If Ainge saw enough potential in Green to draft him in 2007, he, obviously, has not forgotten those traits and expects Green— with only three years under his belt— to improve as his career progresses.
And are we forgetting how well the Celtics played in the first half of the season without Perkins’ presence in the middle? They were 33-10 and had easily defeated the over-hyped Miami Heat twice.
Moreover, it appears Shaquille O’Neal has located the fountain of youth—well, maybe just the trickle of youth, but it’s been more than enough. And with Kevin Garnett looking healthier, angrier, and grittier than ever, Shaq surely won’t have to take on all of the defensive and rebounding responsibilities by himself.
Yet health is, as always, a primary concern. Both players must remain healthy because, entering the playoffs, there won’t be an equal caliber big man to replace those minutes.
Another facet of this trade was the future.
It’s uncertain what it holds for the Celtics three amigos; this maybe the last season for Garnett, Allen, and Paul Pierce. That’s why, in the coming weeks, it’s possible we’ll see Ainge make more moves, with an eye towards next season and beyond—whether it’s another young player or more draft picks.
In the end, we can’t be overly dramatic. It’s OK to feel sentimental, however, just remember that it’s business as usual. And if the Thunder happen to play the Lakers in the playoffs, you’ll have another chance to root for Perkins.