The NBA trade deadline is officially past and one of the biggest, and most surprising, moves from Thursday was between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics, two teams that sit atop their respective division standings.
The Thunder (36-20) swap big man Nenad Kristic and versatile forward Jeff Green for Boston center Kendrick Perkins and high-flying little man Nate Robinson.
Something that Oklahoma City always has had going for it, was the unique team chemistry with players who are OK with not living in the big city. The Thunder has built a fraternity in the locker room where players look after each other like brothers, coaching one another both on and off the court. And while I think adding Perkins and Robinson will help talent-wise, I’m extremely worried about how it will effect team chemistry.
Adding to my concerns is Robinson’s tweet posted just minutes after the trade deadline that said, “All I can say is wowzers.”
Robinson is pretty much a point guard. He’s not a big scorer and his assist totals aren’t very impressive, averaging less than two per game. Two his credit, Robinson had only been playing 17.9 minutes per contest this year, stuck behind Ray Allen on the depth chart, but things won’t be easier in the 405.
Robinson will now be stuck behind the Western Conference’s second-best point guard in Russell Westbrook and will fight for playing time with a budding Eric Maynor.
And then comes Perkins, one of the few true, young and experienced centers of the NBA.
6-foot-10, 280 pounds, averaging 7.1 points and 8.2 rebounds, sparked behind one of the worst attitudes in the league.
Though he has only been assessed four technical fouls on the year, keep in mind that Perkins has only played in 12 games. So once out of every three games, Perkins is fined at least $2,000 by the NBA (fine increases by the amount of technical fouls a player has been penalized over a season).
How is a guy like Perkins going to fit into Scott Brooks’ system, especially when there is such a bright future for Thunder sixth man, Serge Ibaka?
I know it’s not like Oklahoma City has a roster full of angels who never get in trouble—Russell Westbrook has been assessed six technical fouls this season and Ibaka has five—but you usually don’t see Thunder players running after referees like Perkins does.
Still, it’s hard to argue with Perkins’ talent, as Oklahoma City was in need of another big man who could not only score, but clean up on the glass as well. Too bad he won’t be able to play during the Thunder’s upcoming weekend gauntlet with games at Orlando on Friday and hosting the LA Lakers on Sunday, as Boston director of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Perkins won’t be healthy enough to play for at least another week due to a sprained left knee.
Can’t deny Perkins’ history with the Magic and Lakers would be a great boost to Oklahoma City.
Overall, it’s not a trade I like, but for us outsiders there’s nothing else we can do about it except sit, watch and hope it doesn’t blow up in our faces as Oklahoma City looked to be a dynasty in the making.
It should be noted that in a separate deal, Oklahoma City traded Mo Peterson and DJ White to Charlotte for Nazr Mohammed.
Author's Note: This story was originally published on Matt L. Stephens Online.