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It's hard to really justify the thought process, but maybe they're thinking long term? Maybe they're thinking Shaq and Big Baby'll be enough for the playoffs and were trying to get some spunk by getting rid of Perkins? I really don't fuckin know. Benny, little help? Maybe they're freeing up space for some buy out folks. Whatever. Who gives a shit. Now we match up better against them and that's all that matters.

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Sucks we're losing Perk and Nate, but we're getting Jeff Green as I just found out.


Perk wanted bigger money than Boston was willing/able to offer. Still...




BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics have traded center Kendrick Perkins and point guard Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City.

At Thursday's trading deadline, the Thunder agreed to a Los Angeles Clippers future first round draft pick and to send forward Jeff Green and center Nenad Krstic to the Celtics for Perkins and Robinson, SportsCenter 5's Mike Dowling has learned.

"Perkins is in the last year of his contract and is looking for a big-money, long-term extension, which was not close to what the Celtics were looking to pay him," Dowling said.

Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said the team is pleased to welcome Green and Krstic.

"Jeff is a versatile talent on the offensive end and someone who can play multiple positions, while Nenad, who is one of the better shooting big men in the league, gives us good size and length on both ends of the court," Ainge said.

Green, a 6-foot-9-inch forward, has averaged 15.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 49 games this season while starting for the Thunder. As a Georgetown Hoya, he was originally drafted by the Celtics with the fifth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and was traded to the Seattle Supersonics, along with Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak, in exchange for Ray Allen and Glen Davis.

Krstic, a 7-foot center, has averaged 7.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in 21.7 minutes per game while starting for the Thunder. The Serbia native recorded a season-high of 18 points against the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 6.

"We would like to thank both Kendrick and Nate for all of their contributions to the franchise both on and off the court," said Ainge. "Perk was an integral part of our 2008 championship and we could not have asked for a better person to represent our franchise throughout his tenure with the ball club. We wish both Nate and Kendrick nothing but the best in their future."

The Celtics also acquired a future second round pick and traded rookie forward Luke Harangody and rookie center Semih Erden to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In a third trade, the Sacramento Kings acquired swingman Marquis Daniels and cash considerations from the Celtics in exchange for a future conditional second round draft pick.

Daniels has appeared in 49 games for the Celtics this season. He is averaging 5.5 points and 2.3 rebounds. He has been out since bruising his spinal cord on Feb. 6 against Orlando.


Getting rid of Marquis was kinda dumb...


But yeah, sad about Perk and Nate. Perk's our center... I don't know what the thought is there... I can only cross my fingers and hope for the best. I think we'll be ok this year. I can only dream that they'd go after Dwight Howard to replace him...



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Here's an interview with Danny Ainge:




“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. We feel that this will help our team this year and help us in the future as well.”




“Kendrick has had some history of injuries, but he’s recovering. Nobody works harder to recover on their injury than Kendrick, and I think that Kendrick will be fine long-term. …


“Kendrick came back, and he looked good. He worked really hard to get back sooner than we even thought. He’s a great young man, but at the same time we feel like we have a lot of centers, and we have great confidence [shaquille O'Neal] and Jermaine [O'Neal] will be healthy. And [Nenad] Krstic is probably more healthy than all of those guys at this stage.”


Shaq, ok, I kinda understand... Jermaine? The Fuck? He's not that good... We will see about Krstic...




“It’s something that we’ve discussed periodically. I have conversations throughout the year with a lot of teams, and we take some serious and throw some by the wayside. I wanted to see how our team was playing, and our team was playing great in the absence of Kendrick throughout the season. We beat Miami twice and Chicago and LA and so forth.”





“We’re really excited about the guys that we got. Jeff Green is a terrific player. As you guys know, we drafted him way back when in the Ray Allen trade, and he’s done nothing but show what kind of a versatile player he is. He’s playing 37 minutes on one of the top teams in the Western Conference as a starter. He’s 24 years old. He brings us some length and athleticism and versatility to the game. …


“Jeff was a player that we have targeted and like very much. We think that he’s just a great fit in the locker room, in the community and on the court. We think he’s a terrific player and a terrific talent, and we’re very, very excited about him coming in. …


“I think that he can play the 4, he can play the 3, he defends multiple positions, he can shoot the 3-ball, he can post up smaller guys, he’s a terrific passer and he brings length and athleticism to our team. And experience. He’s got a lot of experience as a 24-year-old. He played a lot of minutes as a rookie, and he’s averaging 16 points over the last three years. I think he brings scoring, passing, intelligence, experience, youth and energy all in one package.”

Green was a nice deal, still sux we lost Perk...




“We like Krstic. He’s a terrific shooter. I think he complements [Rajon] Rondo‘s game very well in that he’s just another guy who can knock down that mid-range jump shot.”


We shall see.




“We did talk contract extension with Perk, although our hands were tied a little bit with the collective bargaining agreement that’s in place — what we could offer him. We offered all that we could offer him, and he wasn’t really interested in doing a contract extension, which I understand. … Last time, he didn’t test the market. This time, he really wanted to test the market and see what his value was.


“So, that was a concern, but it wasn’t so much of a concern that we would’ve done something just for that purpose, but the fact that we were able to — in our opinion — help our team for this year and protect ourselves in the future was really good for us.”




“They are a very tight bunch, and I think I’m as close to Perk as any of them. I have a great relationship with him. I brought him in as an 18-year-old out of high school, and it was very difficult. We shed some tears today talking to Perk. It was tough. He’s a great kid. I think he’s going to a great situation for himself and his future. I think OKC is a top-notch franchise. They obviously have some great young players, and I think he has a bright future there. That does help make it a little bit easier.


“It’s not easy at all. We agonized over it. Both Doc [Rivers] and I agonized over it. We went back and forth. There were a few other types of things out there, and it was a very difficult decision to make, yet one that we thought was best for the team and where we’re headed.”




“His teammates, I think that they will give Krstic and Green a chance to come in and show what they’re capable of doing. At the same time, there are some emotions there. They were very close, but I think in time they’ll see the benefits to our team.”




“It was going to be tough to play all three of those guys [Perkins, Shaq and J.O.] anyway and keep them happy. 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 multiple guys who don’t get a chance to play. Shaq has proven to be excellent with our starters. The numbers actually show that he’s been better with our starters.


“Like I said earlier, we’ve beat all the good teams in the league while Kendrick was out. That gives you a little bit more comfort. … Knowing that Jermaine hasn’t 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 with his leg injury. He’s coming along fantastic. We think he’s going to be back.


“Shaq is probably a week away from playing. He’ll probably be able to return to the lineup even before Kendrick would with his injury that he had the other night against Golden State. We feel good about our team. Like I said, Krstic has been starting for Oklahoma City, and so he’s healthy and ready to go and should be able to play for us on Saturday.


“I think Shaq would accept his role. I think Shaq at his age, the way he’s playing, he’s played very well as a starter. I do worry a little bit about him coming off the bench. I think he’s more suited to be a starter, just because of his age and it takes him a while to get loose.”




“We’ll wait and see. I really can’t discuss which guys we’ll try to get and buy out. We’ll just see what happens and be ready to pounce when we get notice of players that are bought out. There are players out there right now that we like a little bit. We’re not going to rush into anything.


“We signed Chris Johnson to a 10-day contract. He’s been playing very well in the D-League. He’s skinny, but he’s a long, athletic, talented kid who can maybe play some minutes for us in the next couple games.


“We’d probably like to add someone at each position. … A wing player; either a great shooter or a defender — not both. We’d also maybe like to shore up our front line, and we would possibly even look for another guard, but that’s probably the least important position right now. We have three roster spots open, and going into the playoffs we may fill all three or we may just fill two depending on who we get.”


Think Dwight Howard....




“Everything we do, we have an eye on Miami and Chicago and Orlando. New York is a very strong team now. The Lakers, San Antonio. We’re aware of who our competition is to win a championship this year. There’s no question about that, and we never lose sight of that.”




“Semih’s been hurt himself. He’s been playing hurt this year, so I’m not sure how much help he’d be for us right now. He’s struggling with his health, and we really couldn’t count on him to be ready to go as the postseason came on. I thought it was important for us to shore that up and fill the roster spot with a more experienced and healthier player down the stretch.”




“I don’t know exactly what the prognosis is for Marquis. I know he’s seen a lot of doctors, and he’s taking his time trying to figure out what is ahead of him and what challenges he faces. It was looking like he might not be able to play the rest of this year, and I think the odds would suggest that. We felt like we needed to create a roster spot that ensured us that we picked up somebody. And Jeff Green can be that guy. He can back up Paul [Pierce] at the 3 position.”




“I felt like our team was going good, playing very well. I guess once we started looking for those wing players, everything kind of transpired. It change a little bit with all of the injuries we’ve had — including the injury with Perk, and not the one that he just had the other day. I think injuries have played a part in what we’ve had to do to prepare for the postseason.”




“I think they’re very good moves for those two teams. I think that the circumstances dictated that Denver needed to move him, and they were going to lose him for nothing, and so I thought that Denver did well to recover what they did.


“And New York, when you get a player of that caliber, sometimes it seems like you’re giving up a lot of players, but those players — those special ones, those guys that are the top five scorers in the league — are difficult to come by. So, I think New York did great.


“Getting Carmelo and Chauncey Billups, I think they’re better right now. And I think Denver did their absolute best and a fantastic job of recovering from where they were.”




“I feel the same way about Utah. Utah knew that they were in the same boat as Denver if they don’t do something by this trade deadline. All of a sudden, summer comes along and they’re in the exact same position Denver found themselves in. So, I think that Utah recovered and got the most out of it. I know it’s not something that they want to do, but it’s something they needed to do rather than let a quality player leave your franchise with nothing in return.”




“He is, yes, and I’ll tell you why. Not only is he playing at a very high level, but I think Rondo is become more and more of a leader. At that time, I didn’t think that he was the leader that we needed him to be, and I think he’s continuing to grow all the time.


“He’s really fun to watch play. He’s a great competitor, and he’s one of the top point guards in all of basketball, so I’d have to say yes he has reached that level.”


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Green makes your team younger and is a great pick up, but at the cost of making your team smaller? I still don't get it. The one advantage you had on all your competition was size and you're giving that up? I think this is gonna hurt you guys this year. Maybe not in the long run, but this year was your year and you just gave it up. We'll see.

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I like (I usually hate ESPN) what ESPN had to say about the whole thing:



Strategically, the trade made sense: The Celtics decided that the hole created by Perkins' departure (rebounding and interior defense) wasn't as important as the hole they needed to fill (perimeter scoring, perimeter defense, flexibility). The dirty little secret of the 2010-11 Celtics? They really missed … (wait for it) … Tony Allen.


That's right, Trick-Or-Treat Tony!


They actually missed his defense and athleticism. Marquis Daniels did a decent job filling the void, but once he got hurt, Paul Pierce became Boston's only perimeter player on the entire roster who could defend Carmelo Anthony (Round 1?) and LeBron James (Round 2?). You really want to rely on a 32-year-old with nearly 1,000 games on his odometer for four straight playoff rounds as your only small forward? That left Danny Ainge with two choices: overpay for a rental (Shane Battier, Jamario Moon, Mickael Pietrus, etc.) or fundamentally change his team.


Here's what he saw with Perkins: a 26-year-old with some miles (and multiple surgeries on his shoulders and knees) in line to make $10 million a year (a price the Celtics didn't want to pay), only they couldn't play him at crunch time because, between Rajon Rondo's fear of getting fouled and Perkins' lack of offense, that meant the Celtics were playing three-on-five offensively down the stretch. You can't win that way. That's why Glen Davis grabbed Perkins' crunch-time minutes against good teams.


And here's what Ainge saw with Green: only 24 years old, a phenomenal teammate by all accounts, someone who played out of position battling bigger players and never complained (not once). I remember looking up his stats a few weeks ago, when I was working on my trade-value column, and wondering whether his confidence was waning: He had been a 39 percent shooter on 3-pointers in 2008-09, but he dwindled to 30 percent this season. Ainge probably hopes that Green (A) will be better playing his natural position, (B) can swing from big forward to small forward depending on the matchups, and © can spell Pierce and Ray Allen even better than James Posey did three years ago. Against Golden State on Tuesday, the Celtics played Von Wafer, Robinson and Delonte West at the same time. That would work against LeBron or Carmelo? Please. With Orlando fading into obscurity, only the Lakers loomed as a playoff team that made you say, "We definitely need Perkins in that series." Was that enough of a reason to keep him around? You tell me.


If the Celtics had a glaring flaw these past two years, it was a lack of flexibility: They could never go small, only big, and they were entirely predictable at crunch time with Garnett, Davis, Pierce, Allen and Rondo (and Perkins almost always stuck on the bench). Green allows them to play small ball against athletic teams, protects them from Pierce getting into foul trouble and gives them another solid defender against LeBron and Carmelo. Make no mistake -- this was a gaping, bullet-sized hole that needed to be filled. But was that hole bigger than the one created by trading Perkins? He played Dwight Howard well; that's gone. He played Andrew Bynum well; that's gone. He supplied a toughness that's rarely seen in the league anymore; it remains to be seen whether Garnett can carry that torch alone. Actually, that's my biggest fear if we weren't putting a ton of eggs in the Shaq Basket (scary thought), banking on Jermaine O'Neal to crawl out of his grave (not likely), hoping for decent minutes from Nenad Krstic (yikes), praying for a Troy Murphy buyout (too bad it's not 2008) and maybe even banking on a Rasheed Wallace comeback (just shoot me).


Still, I believe Boston's perimeter hole was more glaring than the one Perkins just left … on paper. Remember, the Celtics were 33-10 this season without Perkins before the trade -- it's not as though he was irreplaceable. He made the first 42 minutes of every game easier; he didn't matter for the last six. If this were "Sliding Doors" and we could play the rest of the Celtics' season two ways -- one with Green, one with Perkins -- I'd bet anything that Green would log more crunch-time minutes than Perkins does. I liked the trade on paper. I really did. This team is better positioned to make the Finals now. On paper. On paper.


On paper.


And there's the rub. We don't play basketball on paper. I cared about this particular Celtics team more than any Celtics squad since Reggie Lewis was alive -- and that includes the 2008 title team -- mainly because the players enjoyed one another so much. I wasn't surprised to hear that Perkins cried for most of the day Thursday, that Boston's veterans were infuriated by the trade, that Rondo (Perk's best friend) was practically catatonic heading into Thursday night's game in Denver. These guys loved one another. As recently as last season, you couldn't have said that. But Shaq loosened everyone up; so did four full years of the core guys being together; so did Doc's belated maturation into an impactful coach (believe me, I'm as shocked as anyone); so did the contract extensions (Boston's four All-Stars are signed through at least 2012); so did the bonding experience of blowing Game 7 and having that purple confetti fall on their heads; so did the enduring belief that nobody had ever beaten them when they were healthy.


I attended Tuesday's game in Oakland and saw exactly what I expected to see: a well-rested, veteran team that knew it hadn't won there in six years and took care of business accordingly. In the first half, David Lee didn't like the way Perkins fouled him on a drive, whirled around and bumped Garnett and Perkins (standing next to each other) on his way to the line. Double technicals. I remember thinking, "Uh-oh -- no way we're losing now." Something like that happened frequently with these Celtics. They had become the modern-day version of the Bad Boy Pistons -- not the fighting, just the barking, woofing, shoving and general villainy -- with Perk and Garnett as Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn. That was the team's identity, for better and worse. They knew who they were. I left Oakland thinking that we were headed for the Finals. We had "The Look," as Mike Lombardi calls it.


Less than 48 hours later, I found myself staring at an "FYI: Perk for Jeff Green" e-mail for two solid minutes. What???????? I remember drafting Perk out of high school. I remember his being fat and awkward. I remember liking his mean streak that surfaced at the strangest times. I remember those flashes of potential as Perk banged the boards with Al Jefferson. I remember thinking we could count on him after the Garnett trade and not really knowing why. I remember watching that same ugly jump hook over and over again, hoping beyond hope that it might get better. I remember winning a title with him, and I remember losing a title without him. I remember seeing him warm up before opening night, a good two hours before the game, almost as though he didn't want the team to forget that he was coming back. Like every other Celtics fan, I watched him go from nothing to something. I certainly never imagined watching Perk play for another team.


My father was more crushed than me. He's been a season-ticket holder since 1973 and still attends 25 Celtics games per season. As he explained Thursday night, "I was invested in Perkins. I sit 15 feet from their bench -- I watched him grow up. I don't think sports is always about winning and losing. We might be better, but right now, I don't care. I liked the team we had. It doesn't feel right that he's not on this team."


See, you can't truly love a team until you've suffered with it. The 2008 title team always felt like a fantasy team that had been thrown together in some sort of euphoric basketball dream that wasn't quite real. Losing Garnett in 2009 (and eventually, the Orlando series) definitely hurt; blowing the 2010 title was 100 times worse. The agony of those last two games pushed our relationship with the team to an entirely different level. I still remember seeing Perkins rolling around in pain during Game 6 -- it happened about 20 feet away from me -- then the veterans watching him get helped off, his right leg dangling in the air, the life sinking from their bodies like Apollo watching Rocky wave him back to the corner. With a healthy 2011 Garnett in that Game 7, maybe we could have survived. Banged-up 2010 Garnett couldn't get it done. The trophy was sitting there, and we couldn't take it. A crestfallen Perkins spent the summer blaming himself, busted his butt to come back … and the Celtics dumped him a month after he returned. Claiming they couldn't afford him only made it worse: The kid signed a discount extension four years ago and outperformed it. They owed him.


Selfishly, I wanted one more chance with them: Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Rondo, Perkins, Baby and Doc, the only seven guys who mattered here. But that's the thing about sports -- "them" always seems to change when you least expect it. We traded Charlie Scott when I was in the second grade. We traded Danny Ainge when I was in college. Now Perkins. Those were the three most brutal Celtics deals of my lifetime. Each one hurt the same. Doesn't matter how old you are, where you are in your life, where you're living … there's no feeling quite like your favorite team trading someone you genuinely liked.


You might remember LeBron and Carmelo getting excoriated for stabbing their respective teams in the back. You want to know why they didn't care? Because, deep down, they know that teams don't care about players, either. They probably witnessed 20 variations of the Perkins trade during their first few years in the league. Hey, it's a business. Hey, that's just sports. Hey, trades come with the territory. Isn't loyalty a two-way street? When a team does what's best for itself, we call it smart. When a player does the same, we call him selfish. We never think about what a double standard it is.


I thought Perk deserved better than getting blindsided in Denver, then having to limp around with a sprained knee and pack his stuff with tears rolling down his face. Maybe I'm a sap. But that was our guy. Family. On the phone, my dad decided -- completely seriously -- that he would rather have lost the 2011 title with Perkins than have tried to win it without him. Why?


"Because he was truly part of our team," Dad said. "I don't want to root for laundry. I watched that guy for eight years. That should mean something. Continuity should mean something."


Within a few weeks, both of us will have talked ourselves into the Jeff Green era. That's what fans do. We take the hits, shake them off, keep coming back. The Celtics will morph into something slightly different: a little more athletic, a little more flexible, a little younger and, hopefully, almost as tough. Perkins will fly to Oklahoma City, live out of a hotel room, make new friends and try to help Durant and Russell Westbrook make the Finals. Maybe the Celtics will see him there. It won't feel weird at all, because that's the way professional sports work. We are rooting for laundry. Whether we want to admit it or not.

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Heh. You won't be saying that if the Celtics meet the Thunder in the finals. That'll never happen, though so he safe :p


Definitely safe. Just sad to see him go.



They don't look all that enthused about the trade either.


God only knows what Ainge was thinking, but I think we'll be ok. Looks like they shook off the blues last night in the second half. Hope they keep doing good.

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