Kendrick Perkins Looking Forward to First Game Back in Boston

by January 16, 2012

Looking back on it, Kendrick Perkins now says that he foresaw his shocking trade from Boston to OKC last season, and he’s itching to go up against his old team in Beantown tonight. From SI: “When the NBA lockout ended last month, Kendrick Perkins found himself searching the Thunder schedule for one game in particular: Jan. 16, Oklahoma City’s lone trip to Boston. ‘I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t look for it,’ Perkins said. ‘With the short season, I didn’t know if we would be going back there. I’m looking forward to it.’ It has been 11 months since Boston shipped Perkins to Oklahoma City, breaking up the core of a team that, when healthy, Perkins reminds a reporter, never lost a playoff series. The decision to trade Perkins financially motivated: Under the former collective bargaining agreement, the Celtics could offer Perkins only a four-year, $22 million extension. He declined. Boston could have increased its offer in the offseason but with the exploding center market — witness the four-year, $56 million deal Tyson Chandler signed with New York or the four-year, $43 million contract DeAndre Jordan inked with the Clippers last month — the front office was unwilling to commit major money to an offensively limited center coming off a major knee injury. While the trade came as a shock to many, Perkins says he saw it coming. ‘I kind of expected it a little bit,’ Perkins said. ‘Out of the five starters, I was the only one who wasn’t an All-Star. I was coming off an ACL injury and they were winning without me. When I was hurt Shaq and Jermaine [O’Neal], they played well. I think they wondered ‘Is he really that valuable to the team?’ They probably underestimated what I do, the little things that I do, on the court. Not my teammates or the coaches, but ownership, they probably did think it was easy to do what I was doing for the team.’ […] ‘Removing Perk from our team pulled away some of our armor,’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. ‘It allowed other teams see us as vulnerable, that they could beat us. Over the summer I heard from people in Orlando and Miami saying things like ‘Perk’s gone, now we can beat them.'”