So it was a normal day as usual. Got up, plonked myself down in front of the laptop and had a look at the Facebook feed to find out what else has been going on while I was comatose. And these words hit me right in the face.
My first reaction was: “OK, this must be Jay King’s idea of a sick joke or just some shit rumour that’s being passed around.” I clicked on the link and read the article in detail. Mood for the day rapidly evaporated, and I felt devastated. WTF PERK! Those two words echoed in my head for the rest of the day.
Reports talked about Perk and the rest crying upon hearing the trade news, I nearly did too because it just felt so unfair and unreasonable.
Later in the day, I watched the Celtics play crap ball and lose the game to the Nuggets without much reaction, wasn’t expecting them to put a win together after multiple trades that sent Perk, Quisy, Semih, Luke and Nate packing and a crater-sized dent in team morale.
(FYI, I didn’t like the idea of trading Semih or Luke either. Especially Semih.)
After more than twelve hours of digestion, I am starting to come to terms with Danny Ainge’s decision, but accepting it emotionally is another story altogether.
Why I hate the idea of Perkins leaving:
- Perkins is our premier one-on-one defender against dominant centers (read: Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum) in the league. Without him, we might have to start doubling up during defense. Baby is good but he’s no Perk.
- Perkins is our starting center, one of the pieces that makes our offense and defense flow so well. Will Shaq be able to pick up the slack in the playoffs and play a ton of minutes every night? Don’t even get me started on Jermaine.
- Perkins is one of the hardest working guys on the team. Doesn’t complain, shows up for every game and does all the dirty work – hedging, setting screens, rebounding. Look at how he worked his ass off on rehab to get himself back into game shape after tearing an ACL and undergoing the operation, look at how everyone cheered on his first game back! He will never be an All-Star but Perk most definitely deserves an A+ for effort and grit if nothing else. Are we right to trade him just like that, someone who deserves a ton of respect for what he does every night?
Why I think the Perkins trade has a certain amount of (twisted and unavoidable) logic to it:
- Our much vaunted depth became perilously thin over the course of the season; constant injuries to the big men (Shaq/JO/Semih) were probably causing concern and we need a reasonably healthy center on the roster. Perk’s back from rehab but he just got bumped on the knee, which probably began raising health issue concerns all over again.
- Celtics needed someone to back Pierce up = trade bait was needed somehow. No one’s going to give you decent players for free, not unless you’re the Lakers and Pau Gasol is given to you for practically nothing. The only really expendable one (due to poor performance) with any sort of value IMO was Nate, so someone else definitely had to be bundled to create a deal. Ideally we would’ve traded Nate and Jermaine but I guess no one’s going to be interested in Jermaine who hasn’t been in good health this season to begin with. I won’t talk about Quisy (injured), Luke (not good enough now) or Semih (injured) since they were sent off to create roster spaces and do not look to get much court time for the rest of the season anyway.
- Perkins has not been improving his offensive skillset significantly over the recent seasons; still brings the ball low for power dribble before going up, limited post moves, almost non-existent mid-range. Not going to belittle his offensive contributions though; he sets awesome (sometimes moving) picks and knows the sets inside out which gets the rest of the guys free.
- Perkins refused the initial contract extension because of the salary offered, and is sure to ask for more in the coming season because of how the center market is like. The Celtics are not prepared to commit that kind of money to him so there you go.
- I really hate to say this but among the five starters, Perk is the one I would reluctantly place on the top spot if we had a “who-would-you-trade-if-you-had-no-choice” list.
- Perk is going to the Thunder who seriously lack size at the center spot. Together with Nazr Mohammed from the Bobcats trade, they’re getting a serious upgrade. Giving them a boost means more trouble to the Western Conference = tougher road for the Lakers and Spurs = less rest. It’s about time too, too many people are moving to the East.
That’s about as much as I can write at this point; I’m quite sure Danny Ainge is setting himself up for a lynch mob if this doesn’t work out. I’m still kinda overwhelmed that Perk is gone, it feels odd to not see him in green anymore, but to be in OKC with the Thunder. No more incredulous looks followed by a T. No more menacing scowls. No more bumping opponents around the basket. No more ugly baby hook shots.
Goodbye for now, Perk. I’m glad I caught you up live on my first game at the Garden. You’ll always be the awesome Beast in green as far as I know, and I hope to see you back in Boston someday. Until then, take care.