Heading into this season, the Boston Celtics look to be one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, let alone the league.
The team's decided weakness throughout the playoffs was their lack of depth, which ended up causing their veteran starters like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, to be gassed by the time the 4th quarter of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals rolled around.
Thankfully for Celtics fans, Danny Ainge has locked up quite a few solid bench players, both through the draft and free agency.
So far, he has signed Jason Terry and re-signed Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox. All four can contribute to a championship roster right now (via Celtics Hub).
While Terry will likely be a sixth man for as long as he is Boston (his best role), Green might be the long-term replacement for Pierce, once the likely lifetime Celtic regresses or ultimately retires. Bass was a revelation this season and will see a lot of playing time in the rotation.
Drafting Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo were also prudent moves, with both serving as possible role players in a short period of time (via ESPNBoston).
Even with all of this depth, Garnett will likely play out of position once again this season, seeing more time at the 5, rather than the 4.
While KG is a force defensively, putting him up against bigger-bodied centers will likely tire him out. Boston needs a true center, while Melo develops.
Re-enter Kendrick Perkins.
All Boston fans remember how effective Perkins was as a Celtic. He does not put up the statistics that top centers do, but he understands his role on a basketball team.
Defensively, Perk is one of the best in the game. He is able to body-up any big man, while also limiting offensive rebounds for the other team.
His impact was felt when he tore his ACL in Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals, as the Lakers out-rebounded the Celtics 23-8 in terms of offensive boards.
After Ainge inexplicably traded Perkins to the Thunder for Green two seasons ago, the Celtics faltered, eventually losing their stranglehold on the No. 2 seed, and fell to Miami in five games in the Conference Semifinals.
While Oklahoma City might not want to, they could be forced to use the "Amnesty Clause" on Kendrick Perkins, in order to re-sign both of their talented youngsters, James Harden and Serge Ibaka.
In addition, Perkins does not really fit into the Thunder's run-and-gun offensive scheme, with OKC even considering playing a lineup with Ibaka at the 5. In this way, there is a good chance that Perk will be on the market in 2013.
The question is whether he will be willing to forgive Ainge.
Perk is close friends with Rondo and really enjoyed being on the Celtics. Celtics fans were shocked when they traded their center, even though contract negotiations between Perkins and Celtics management were not going anywhere.
It feels like a return to Boston might make sense for him. The Celtics have Garnett for three more years and the forward likely will not retire unless Boston wins another championship.
He would bring toughness to a roster that prides itself on it. He truly is the missing piece to a future championship team.
Even in this scenario, I am hard-pressed to think that Perkins will come back to a general manager that decided to trade him in the thick of a playoff hunt.
As a Celtics fan, I hope that he realizes that we understand his value on this roster and that we never forgot his impact on the court.
Here's to a reunion that would make sense for both sides.
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