On February 24, the NBA Trade Deadline, the Boston Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The trade shocked the NBA world, to include members of the team who were visibly shaken after the trade was announced.
Many fans and media members were stunned as to why the front office of the Celtics would dismantle a winning roster that went to the Finals just a year ago. This team, when healthy, could play with anyone in the NBA and were perennial favorites to win the championship.
Now, the Celtics had completely revamped the roster, and head coach Doc Rivers and GM Danny Ainge assured the worried fanbase all would be fine. They were wrong.
Here is the exact trade that the Celtics executed on the trade deadline with the up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Celtics sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Thunder in exchange for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and the Los Angeles Clippers' first-rounder in 2012. The trade of Robinson came as no surprise, as the fan-favorite and spark off the bench had fallen out of favor with Doc. His contract was easy to move, and he became an accessory in a deal that was centered on Perkins.
The Celtics had traded away their size, which seemingly was the only edge over other teams in the East. The C’s front office emerged with plenty of reasons why this deal made sense.
Perkins had been with the Celtics for eight years, longer then Doc Rivers, and he was going to be a free agent after this season. The Celtics had already attempted to work out a deal with Perkins, and the two sides could not reach agreement on a number.
The choice to trade Perkins now and get something for him now made more sense than losing him in the offseason.
The Celtics had another reason to trade the big man: his health.
The Celtics needed big men that could handle the grind of the playoffs. Perkins went down in Game 6 of the Finals a year ago against the Lakers, and the assumption would be the Celtics could have won if he was available.
The Celtics' big-man bench was a series of question marks in Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal and Semih Erden, so a trade had to happen. In this trade, the Celtics got two pieces that could replace Perkins and get the Celtics to a championship this year, or so they thought.
The Celtics got two young, quality players in Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
Green has been a picture of health while playing with the Thunder, and he can rebound and score the basketball.
Krstic is a seven-footer, and at just 27 years old, he can clog the lane for years to come for the Celtics. While these players have a tremendous upside, the Celtics have taken a step back in their quest to win another championship.
The latest NBA Future odds to win the Eastern Conference are 1:1, and the odds to win an NBA Championship are 2.5:1.
The Celtics are in serious of danger of not competing for either title. The trade to the Thunder hurt the Celtics, and it is showing on the floor.
The Celtics are just 8-8 since the trade for Perkins, and they are struggling on the floor. The Celtics have lost to several bottom feeders in the NBA, including the New Jersey Nets and the Houston Rockets.
The more alarming losses are the ones the Celtics are losing at home. The Celtics have lost in the Garden to several lesser teams like the LA Clippers, Charlotte Bobcats and Memphis Grizzlies.
The Celtics are currently 2.5 games behind the Bulls and just a half-game ahead of the Miami Heat for the third spot in the Eastern Conference Standings.
The Celtics are dropping like a rock in the standings and showing no signs of recovering.
In the last six losses in March, the Celtics have been out-rebounded in every game with the exception of two. They are struggling to control the boards, and the inside game has gone soft.
The chemistry is still not there yet, and the new players that were acquired around the trade deadline, and afterwards during waivers, are having trouble fitting in. Rajon Rondo is having difficulties getting in sync with the new players, and the result is bad shots, bad possessions and bad losses.
The Celtics have a team filled with veterans and one of the best coaches in the NBA, so they could make a run in the playoffs. However a championship this year is not likely.
While the Celtics could be better in the future because of the trade, it will be the reason the Celtics don’t win a championship in 2011.
Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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