Out are Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson, Marquis Daniels, Semih Erdin, and Luke Harangody.
In are Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, and now Troy Murphy.
For a center whose career averages are 6.4 PPG and 6.1 RPG, you wouldn't expect a major uproar at his being dealt, but that was exactly the reaction when news of Perkins' trade to Oklahoma City was announced.
The man with the perpetual scowl on his face provided so much more to the Celtics than could be registered on a stat line. The key to last year's Finals collapse wasn't due to Ray Allen going cold, or Paul Pierce being outplayed by Ron Artest, but Perkins going down early in Game 6 with a torn ACL.
Even though it's universally agreed upon that Green was the best player in the deal, you'd have been hard pressed to find an analyst that thought the Celtics came out better after the trade—be it locally or nationally.
With the additions of the two O'Neal's in the offseason, the mid-season return of Perkins gave the Celtics a size advantage over the league that led many to proclaim the C's the overwhelming favorite to win the NBA Championship.
Without Perkins? The air quickly began to seep out of the "overwhelming" tag.
Green became an unnecessary addition, and Krstic—another teams "garbage" thrown in to finish the deal. The short-term returns have shown that maybe Krstic isn't quite the "Euro-trash" player thought to have been acquired.
But, to add to that frontcourt, the Celtics have come to terms with Murphy, who had apparently walked of the edge of the Earth upon being dealt to the New Jersey Nets in the offseason. Murphy, a career 13 and eight player, is better on the glass than Perkins (not saying all-around defense, just on the boards), and their offensive games are on different levels.
With that said, there's a reason the Celtics were able to add Murphy for nothing, and any C's fan would have to hope he can find some motivation to regain the quality play he had only a season ago.
To keep with negatives, even if Murphy finds his game he doesn't bring the toughness that Perkins brought. The intensity he showed. The "don't look at me or any of my teammates the wrong way, or you're going to regret it" mentality he displayed.
The people of Boston were right to question the decision to part-ways with this "blood & guts" player—who left everything on the court. But is his loss really that devastating? Is he really that irreplaceable?
Now bear with me, but is a frontcourt comprised of Krstic, Murphy, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, and Glen "Big Baby" Davis lacking in size? Sure, neither O'Neal is currently healthy, but Perkins is coming off a torn ACL, and is expected to miss another three weeks after tweaking his other knee.
Jermaine has been M.I.A for the majority of the season, but GM Danny Ainge has stated after undergoing surgery, O'Neal finally feels that his knee feels good (taken with a grain of salt, but he did say that).
Shaq daddy has already played above expectations this season. The Celtics played arguably their best ball all year while Perkins was still recuperating, and Shaq was the go to center. Surely, if he's healthy and rested headed into the playoffs, he'll be able to provide the size advantage needed.
Every single frontcourt player I listed three sections above is a better offensive player than Perkins, even Jermaine. Once again, that doesn’t begin to determine the value of Perkins—a starter on the '08 Championship team (ubuntu anyone?).
Can Krstic and Murphy make a serviceable replacement for Perkins? I do, but do you? (Also, let’s not forget, I went through this entire article without delving into what Jeff Green can bring to this team)
Please let your opinion be known.