Boston Celtics: Time to Officially Declare the Kendrick Perkins Trade a Bust?

Collin BerglundCorrespondent IIIApril 11, 2011

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 09:  Jeff Green #8 of the Boston Celtics tries to get around Eric Bledsoe #12 of the Los Angeles Clippers on March 9, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Boston Celtics have struggled since the Kendrick Perkins trade.  

Some fans are blaming Danny Ainge's deadline deal swapping Perkins and Nate Robinson for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic for the recent losses.

It is too early to determine whether this trade was a success or failure. Perkins was hurt for much of the early season.  

The Celtics were successful without him.

Shaquille O'Neal is due to return by the playoffs. With Shaq in the lineup early in the season, the Celtics were a force to be reckoned with.

Perkins' absence is nothing new to this team. If Shaq is around for a playoff run, expect the Celtics to run through the Eastern Conference. If Shaq does not come back, the combination of Krstic and Glen Davis playing center might not be enough to beat the beasts of the East.

The Perkins trade was not a trade made with this season in mind. Obviously, Perkins is more valuable to this particular team than Jeff Green is.  

Perkins has already won a championship as a member of the Celtics' starting five; Green won't start unless there is an injury.  

However, Green is younger and provides the Celtics with a piece to put around Rajon Rondo after the era of the Big Three comes to an end.

It's tough to simultaneously maintain a dominant team and replace aging stars. Danny Ainge watched the original Celtics Big Three of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish struggle toward the end of their careers. He watched as management kept the three aging players together instead of trading them for younger players who could provide a longer run of success.

Ainge does not want to make the same mistakes.

The Celtics still have a shot of making a run in the NBA playoffs. They could still be crowned NBA champions.  Until that possibility is extinguished, this trade can't be deemed a failure.  

Even then, the trade's success depends upon whether fans would rather have better odds of championship season this year or a competitive team for years down the road.

Most fans would answer that they prefer better odds at a championship.  

So if the Celtics fall short this season, the trade will be a failure.