The NBA trade deadline has come and gone with the Boston Celtics really making the surprise move of the day. Last season, Kendrick Perkins tore two ligaments in his right knee during game six of the NBA Finals. Kendrick Perkins was a key component of the Boston Celtics defense and a favorite amongst the team and fan base.Perkins was thought of as an important piece for this aging Celtics team to return back to the NBA Finals. He was coming off the knee injury this season playing in only 12 games and averaging 7.3 points-per-game and 8.1 rebounds-per-game.
In the end Danny Ainge pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson from Boston to Oklahoma for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
It has been rumored that the news was not taken well within the Celtics team as it was a major shock that a player with a defensive presence for Boston was even considered to be traded. Ainge feels this is a move that improves the Celtics because the team played well despite Perkins absence and the starters statistically played better with Shaq in. The Celtics look for a big second half run, currently as the leader of the Eastern Conference at 41-14. Danny Ainge joined WEEI in Boston with John Ryder and Paul Flannery to discuss everyone wondering why this move was made to trade Kendrick Perkins/Nate Robinson for Jeff Green/Nenad Krstic, was he concerned long term with Kendrick Perkins, was he worried about Kendrick Perkins deal because he wouldn’t be able to sign a contract with Boston in the off-season, is he concerned this trade adds pressure to Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal and does he make this move if Marquis Daniels does not get hurt.
Everyone is wondering why this move was made to trade Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green?
“Well we think it upgrades our team ultimately is the reason. You always have to give up something of value to get something of value in return and we feel this will help our team this year and help us in the future as well.”
How were you concerned long term with Kendrick Perkins and his injuries?
“Um you know Kendrick has had some history of injuries, but he seems like he’s recovering. Nobody works harder to recover from an injury than Kendrick. I think Kendrick will be fine long term.”
Were you worried at all about this Kendrick Perkins deal because you wouldn’t be able to sign a contract with him in the off-season?
“Well you know that’s part of it. You know we did talk contract extension with Perk and although our hands were tied a little bit based on the collective bargaining agreement that’s currently in place with what we could offer him. We offered him all we could offer him and he wasn’t really interested in doing a contract extension, which I understand. He wanted to test the market and see the last time he didn’t test the market and this time he wanted to test the market and see what his value was, so that was a concern, but it wasn’t so much of concern that we wouldn’t have done something just for that purpose, but the fact that we are able to in our opinion help our team this year and protect ourself for the future was very good for us.”
How did Kendrick Perkins take the news of being traded and how what were the emotions of his teammates?
“They are a very tight bunch. You know I think I am as close to Perk as any of them. I have a close relationship with him. I brought him in as an eighteen year old out of high school and that was very difficult. We shed some tears today talking to Perk. It was tough. He’s a good kid. I think he’s going to a great situation for himself and his future. I think Oklahoma City is a top notch franchise and they obviously have some great young players. I think he that has a bright future there and that does help make it a little bit easier.”
Are you concerned at all this trade adds pressure to Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal now with the trading of Kendrick Perkins?
“Well first of all it was going to be tough to play all three of those guys anyway and keep them happy. I think having the three of them get through the regular season is one thing, but when it comes down to playoff time there’s going to be you know multiple guys who won’t get the chance to play. Shaq has proven to be excellent with our starters and the numbers have actually shown he’s been better with out starters. We’ve beat all the good teams in the league while Kendrick was out – that gives you a little more comfort, but the way that we play with Shaq and with Jermaine, knowing Jermaine had been right yet he’s given us some really good defensive minutes and defensive rebounding and shot blocking when he’s played, but he hasn’t really broke through and gotten his confidence offensively you know with his leg injury. He’s coming along fantastic. We think he’s going to be back. Shaq is probably a week away from coming back. He’ll probably be able to return back to the lineup before Kendrick would with his injury the other night he got against Golden State, so we feel good about our team and like I said [Nenad] Krstic has been starting for Oklahoma City, so he’s ready to go and healthy and ready to go and should be ready to play for us this Saturday.”
Do you make this move if Marquis Daniels does not get hurt?
“Umm You know it’s a really good question. I felt like our team was going good, playing very well. Marquis versatility was, but I guess that once we started looking for those wings players and everything that transpired it did change a little bit with all the injuries we had including the injury with Perk, not the one he just had the other day, but I think injuries have played a part in what we’ve tried to do to prepare us for this post-season.”