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Bill Simmons on D&C: ‘I don’t know’ what Celtics are now

04.04.11 at 10:37 am ET

ESPN’€™s Bill Simmons appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to discuss the Celtics‘€™ playoff prospects and reflect on the Kendrick Perkins trade. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Simmons said that if Shaquille O’€™Neal can’€™t return after straining his right calf Sunday, he can’€™t see the Celtics winning it all.

‘€œThey can’€™t win,’€ Simmons said. ‘€œI mean, part of this Perkins trade was that you had to keep your fingers crossed that you were either going to get Shaq and Jermaine [O’Neal] or one of them or pieces of both of them or whatever. And those guys aren’€™t involved. There are too many teams that have size that they’€™re probably going to have to come across at some point, especially because it just seems like the Lakers are going to be there now. They’€™re just not big enough to beat the Lakers.’€

Simmons said he wasn’€™t entirely opposed to the Perkins trade at the time it was made, but that it’€™s now easy to see it wasn’€™t a good move.

‘€œI thought it was a trade that made sense on paper, which is what I wrote,’€ Simmons said. ‘€œIt was because they had this huge hole behind [Paul] Pierce and [Ray] Allen. ‘€¦ But it was one of those things where they just moved from one hole to another hole. Now they don’€™t have to worry about Pierce and Allen getting into foul trouble or putting a ton of miles on them or whatever, but now they have this other hole.

‘€œI didn’€™t even fully realize after they made the trade how much it was going to affect our identity,’€ Simmons continued. ‘€œI worried about it, but it’€™s really affected their identity. I think the one thing we’€™ve learned over the last month is that these guys really bought into that whole, whether it was stupid or not, nobody had ever beaten them in a playoff series when they were healthy. And that was something they fed off.’€

Simmons said the trade doesn’€™t help the Celtics long term, either. ‘€œThe part that nobody mentions with the Perkins trade is that they’€™re talking about how they want to get younger — Jeff Green and moving forward and all that kind of stuff,’€ he said. ‘€œWhere are they going to find a young center three years from now or two years from now? There’€™s not a ton of centers out there. So in a way, you’€™re in the same type of hole you would’€™ve been in trying to get younger anyway.’€

The Sports Guy said his expectations for the Celtics in the playoffs have definitely dropped. ‘€œThe more that I look at this and think about this, I thought they were the favorites,’€ Simmons said. ‘€œI don’€™t think they were the prohibitive favorites, but I thought they had the best team. I went to the game two days before the trade and it just seemed like they had the best team and the best chemistry, and they shook it up. Now I don’€™t know what they are. I think if they play the Lakers, they’€™re going to lose.’€

Simmons said he isn’€™t even sure this was the deal Danny Ainge hoped to make.

‘€œHere’€™s what I really worry about with this trade,’€ he said. ‘€œI don’€™t think this is the original trade they wanted to make. I think the original trade they wanted to make was Perkins for James Harden. I think they went down that road and at some point Oklahoma City decided, ‘€˜You know what, we can’€™t give up Harden. We’€™re just too afraid he’€™s going to come back to haunt us. What about Jeff Green?’€™ And I think Danny kind of talked himself into the Jeff Green thing.’€

Simmons finished his appearance by making his pick for NBA champion. ‘€œI would say the Lakers,’€ he said. ‘€œI think they have the best sense of who they are and they have Kobe [Bryant] still. I don’€™t get it. I thought he was going to drop, I thought he was going to start going downhill at this point, but he hasn’€™t. And they’€™re the biggest team.’€

Who comes out of the East? ‘€œAt this point, I would still pick the Celtics, as crazy as that sounds,’€ Simmons said. ‘€œI feel like as long as the top four can stay healthy, they can get through. ‘€¦ At gunpoint, I’€™d still pick the Celtics.’€

Read More: Bill Simmons, Danny Ainge, Kendrick Perkins, Shaquille O'Neal
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