It was the Trade Heard 'Round New England.
By the time the clock struck 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, the Celtics had traded center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green and center Nenad Krstic.
Perkins was averaging 7.3 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game this season after returning on Jan. 25 from a knee injury that sidelined him during Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals and a large portion of the 2010-11 season. Robinson was averaging 7.1 points per game this season.
Jeff Green, a 6'9", 235 lb. big man, currently in his fourth season, is averaging 15.6 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game this season, while Krstic, a 7'0", 240 lb. center, is averaging 7.6 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game this season.
I'm personally not that worried that Boston is losing Nate Robinson; he provides a small scoring boost, and he's certainly entertaining and a cheerleader for the team, but he's still an inconsistent gunslinger who would prefer to shoot threes all game than run the offense in a Rondo-esque way. The Celtics are shooting pretty well around, with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce providing most of the outside shooting, while Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis have been holding down the interior. The bench and Rondo do the rest.
It's the loss of Perk I'm worried about.
Who benefits the most from this trade?
Sure, Boston picks up two new bodies, and it's obvious that Jeff Green is a fairly good scorer, despite being the third option behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. And the fact that the Celtics gain another healthy big in this deal is a plus.
But what do the Celtics lose?
Kendrick Perkins was a huge interior presence. He wasn't the biggest scorer, but he was physical in the paint, was an excellent defender and he grabbed quite a few rebounds. He did an awesome job bothering defenders, and despite being undersized at center compared to the likes of Dwight Howard, he presented challenges to bigs around the league, especially against Andrew Bynum and the Lakers frontcourt, and alongside KG and Big Baby, they've easily outplayed opponents in the Eastern Conference.
I'm really skeptical of this trade. The Celtics lose a huge body in the post at a time when Perk was finally healthy and ready to compete. They gain another scorer in Jeff Green, and he's a power forward who can play alongside KG and Big Baby, but he's not necessarily physical or a rebounder like Perk is. That and the Celtics pick up what is another Semih Erden (who, along with Luke Harangody, got dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second-round draft pick) in Nenad Krstic, a lanky seven-footer who may very well perpetuate the "soft European" stereotype.
I think the Celtics got the dead end of the hardwood on this one. I'm not entirely sure what Danny Ainge has in mind with this one. Maybe this will all work out. But then again, it may not. And rest assured, I remain skeptical.