The C’s had a chance to say goodbye to their teammate and brother following the stunning trade yesterday, and they all described it as a tough and highly emotional moment.
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen addressed the press following last night’s loss in Denver, and though each made diplomatic statements, trading away Kendrick Perkins was not a popular move within the Boston locker room.
The Boston Herald reports:
“It’s not even about a teammate,” said Kevin Garnett. “You feel like you lost a family member today. Tough day.” Added Paul Pierce, “It was very emotional, especially for me being that I had a chance to see Perkins grow up from Day 1 fresh out of high school seeing him get to the level he got to on a championship team. I had a chance to talk to him at length this afternoon, but he was definitely hurt. The guys around this locker room are definitely hurt to see Perk go.”
Ray Allen also had a chance to talk with Perkins. “I just said, ‘Sorry,’” Allen said. “There’s no words that can really describe the emotions that you feel. Perk is a tough guy, (but) he was very emotional. Like he couldn’t get the words out that he needed to get out. “In my mind, he’ll always be a Celtic. He’s been here for eight years. I felt truly bad. That’s probably one of the toughest pills I’ve had to swallow of any player I’ve seen traded, because he was a part of what he was doing here. So we have to change that around and incorporate these new guys we got.” As for whether the trade will help the Celts, there was uncertainty. “We don’t know,” said Garnett. “That’s going to be the big question. Time is going to tell all that.”
Paul Pierce voiced the thought that’s been swirling around every Celtic fan’s brain since the news broke: “You hope that Danny (Ainge) and Doc (Rivers) know what they’re doing. I mean, we put our trust in them, so it is what it is. We can’t use any excuses and cry over spilled milk.”
Danny Ainge says the Celtics weren’t going to be able to afford to keep Perkins, so they decided to get something in return for him now. But the issue remains, with the team in clear “win-now” mode, it’s a bizarre move to look towards the future by getting rid of an integral part of the unit at such a critical time in the season.
The Celtics’ title hopes, in many ways, will rest on the health and productivity of Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal come Playoff time. It’s not hard to tell why many of their fans are furious and confused.