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Irish Coffee: Get over the Kendrick Perkins trade 03.01.11 at 11:51 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Five days after being traded from the Celtics, Kendrick Perkins and the Thunder brass have already agreed to terms on a contract extenion. Wait a second … WHAT?!?!

If you’ll recall, Perkins turned down a four-year, $22 million deal from the Celtics, and after trading the championship-winning center Celtics president Danny Ainge told us Perkins “really wanted to test the market and see what his value was.”

Apparently not. He just wanted a better offer, and the Celtics couldn’t give it to him. Their $22 million offer was the maximum they could allocate to him. They couldn’t have offered him four years and $34.8 million, which is what the Thunder did, according to Yahoo! Sports. A difference of $3.2 million per season is a big deal. Literally.

And it’s exactly why I’m an even bigger advocate of the Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic acquisitions than I already was. Is Perkins an $8.7 million a year player? Heck no.

As for the remaining Celtics, let’s all hope the veterans get over this “Whoa is me, Perk is gone” mentality that’s been fairly evident on and off the court. As CBS Sports columnist Ken Berger pointed out last week, it’s the Big Four’s $57 million worth of contracts next season that limited the Celtics’ offer to $22 million.

If they wanted Perkins for the remainder of this season and beyond, why didn’t Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen offer up a total of $800,000 apiece per year over the next four seasons so Perkins could get his $35 million wish?

Never mind the fact that the Celtics got the best player in the deal (Green) and another guy (Krstic) who gives you comparable numbers to Perkins for a player who was obviously never going to sign in Boston this summer.

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Read More: Bill Walton, Boston Celtics, Chris Bosh, Corey Brewer
Kendrick Perkins signs extension with Oklahoma City at 11:30 am ET
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Kendrick Perkins hasn’t even played a game yet for his new team in Oklahoma City, but he has agreed to a four-year contract extension with the Thunder. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski has the total value of the deal worth $34.8 million.

That’s a good deal for Perkins and it also helps explain why the Celtics would have made him available at the trade deadline. Earlier this winter, they offered him a four–year extension worth about $23 million. That was the most the Celtics could have offered him under the current collective bargaining agreement. Perkins turned it down believing he could get more as unrestricted free agent.

“We offered him all that we could offer him,” team president Danny Ainge said in an interview with WEEI. “He wasn’€™t really interested in doing a contract extension, which I understand. He wanted to test the market. Last time he didn’€™t test the market and this time he wanted to see what his value was and that was a concern.”

But the Thunder had more room to maneuver under the cap, as detailed by Sham Sports (scroll down to the bottom), and they used that extra space to up the offer for Perkins. It’s unclear how high the Celtics would have gone in an offer for Perkins had he reached unrestricted free agency, but it also seems unlikely they would have gone that far with him.

In the end, this deal works out well for the Celtics. Perkins stays out of the Eastern Conference and as an added bonus goes to a team that is now better-equipped to battle the Lakers. It also works out well for Perkins who outproduced his current contract and gets paid before the looming summer labor uncertainty. The Celtics got almost eight years out of the 27th pick in the draft and landed Jeff Green in the process.

Read More: Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins,
Fast Break: New Celtics, familiar results 02.28.11 at 11:37 pm ET
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This is going to take some time, but while Celtics coach Doc Rivers learns how to use his new toys (he had Jeff Green playing everything from the 2-guard through the four-spot), the Celtics remain the Celtics in the fourth quarter. Locked in a tight battle with Utah, the veterans made the right plays and executed down the stretch.

Ray Allen and Paul Pierce made huge shots. Kevin Garnett was dominant defensively and on the boards and Rajon Rondo made the right decisions and also sank a crucial jumper. The Celtics won 107-102, which gave them a 3-1 West Coast trip and also kept them two games ahead of the Heat in the loss column for the best record in the conference.

They have the next six weeks to figure out what kind of team they will be, but when it comes time to win games, they haven’t forgotten their formula.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Kevin Garnett is Kevin Garnett again: In the midst of all the turmoil, Garnett has very quietly run off a string of double-doubles on this West Coast trip. After scoring 18 points to go with 14 rebounds he now has seven in his last eight games. Garnett was at his best, though, on the defensive end, where he switched over to Al Jefferson late in the game and shut the big man down.

The key moment came when Garnett and Jefferson were called for double technicals late in the fourth quarter. The T’s didn’t stop the chatter between the two players and Jefferson was obviously primed to get the ball and score. He got the ball, but Garnett gave ground at the right moment and caused a travel. It was a classic veteran trap and Jefferson fell right into it.

Rajon Rondo takeover: Rondo scored only six points in the first half and passed up a couple of easy looks to make passes instead, but in the second half he reverted back into an attacking machine. When Rondo doesn’t look for his offense he makes himself so much easier to defend. But when he keeps the threat of scoring alive, it makes him nearly impossible to defend.

Nenad Krstic is no Perk offensively: Krstic is known as a player who can step outside and make jump shots, but he’s also shown in limited time an ability to score with his back to the basket. The Celtics don’t use a lot of post-ups as part of their regular offense, but Krstic has a nice touch around the basket and is also able to roll smoothly to the basket. Offensively, he is a definite upgrade from Kendrick Perkins‘ limited repertoire.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Krstic is no Perk, defensively: Then there’s the other end of the floor. Krstic will get better as he gets used to playing in the Celtics’ defensive scheme (and also gets used to playing alongside Garnett). Early on he’s looked slow in rotations and a step behind the play. Krstic was also abused by Jefferson, who scored 18 of his 28 points in the first half. It wasn’t all Krstic’s fault, but the Jazz went flying through the lane time and again for layups. The Celtics will have to adjust to Krstic as much as he will have to adjust to them.

Glen Davis continues to struggle: Over his last three games, Davis has shot 9-for-28. Over the last two months Davis has been as up and down as any Celtic, but they keep using him in the fourth quarter. Davis remains the best — and maybe only — option for getting crunch-time minutes with the other four starters, but if Rivers wants to continue to experiment he may take a look at his closing lineup over the next month and a half.

Delonte West is hurt again: The Celtics got bad news even before this one started as West rolled his right ankle during an informal workout on Sunday. He missed Monday’s game with Utah and is likely to miss Wednesday’s game when the Celtics return home to play the Suns. With Nate Robinson in Oklahoma City, the Celtics are relying on West to be the third guard, not only backing up Rajon Rondo, but Ray Allen as well.

But it’s at backup point guard where they desperately need his steady hand and veteran experience. Rookie Avery Bradley took those minutes against Utah and was more aggressive and confident than he’s been to date, but Bradley is not the answer this season. The Celtics need West to be healthy.

Read More: Celtics, Delonte West, Fast Break, Glen Davis
Stephen A. Smith on D&C: ‘I still believe that Rasheed Wallace is going to come back’ at 10:38 am ET
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Veteran columnist and radio host Stephen A. Smith joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Celtics and NBA news. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Smith made news recently by speculating that Rasheed Wallace would end his retirement and return to the Celtics. Smith explained that Wallace indicated last June ‘€” when the player talked about his retirement ‘€” that he would consider returning after the trade deadline this season.

“He was alluding [in June] to coming back once the trading deadline expired if the Celtics needed him, that he would think about it,” Smith said. “And throughout this year, he had been saying one day, he wants to come back, the other day, he doesn’t want to come back. ‘€¦ He was going back and forth throughout the year. One day he wants to come back, another day he doesn’t want to come back. One minute he’s thinking about going to Orlando, the next minute he misses all the boys he was with in Boston last year.

“So, I simply said I think he’s going to end up coming back to Boston, because I believe that Boston is going to be the team that fights the Lakers for the world championship, and I believe that Doc Rivers is the ultimate motivator. And I think if you have an opportunity to play for Doc Rivers for a couple of months, that’s not something that you’re going to turn down. I still believe that. I still believe that Rasheed Wallace is going to come back.”

Smith called the trade of Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder “a devasating blow” to Boston, but he remains convinced that the Celtics will beat the Heat and win the Eastern Conference en route to an NBA title. Smith said he can’t pick a team that starts Erick Dampier at center, and that the Celtics can slow the games down, taking away the Heat’s uptempo style.

“If [the Celtics] play the kind of defense they always play, I can’t see how the Miami Heat can beat them in a seven-game series,” he said.

Added Smith: “I believe in Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal, and I think somehow, someway, specifically Shaquille O’Neal can offset the loss of Kendrick Perkins. And I think that will be enough to get you back to the NBA finals, where I believe they will beat the Los Angeles Lakers.”

The Perkins trade hurts the Celtics more emotionally than physically, Smith explained. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the Boston Celtics made the right move for the long term,” he said. “But short term, I think it’s a devastating blow. Kendrick Perkins is a big body, a wide body, he’s very, very physical. And I’m one of those people who firmly believes that if Kendrick Perkins hadn’t gotten hurt in Game 6 of the NBA finals that the Boston Celtics would be the reigning defending world champions right now. I think they would have beaten the Lakers in Game 7.

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Read More: Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace, Stephen A. Smith
Irish Coffee: ‘The Association’ observations (Episode 3) at 10:28 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Episode 3 of “The Association: Boston Celtics” didn’t disappoint. Filmed in the midst of all the drama surrounding Kevin Garnett‘s on-court antics, the Celtics All-Star forward became the focal point of the show. We got some rare glimpses of Garnett behind the scenes, like running the beaches in his hometown of Malibu and looking out over the Pacific Ocean. He gave us some true gems that could only come from the mind of KG:

  • “I feel like my intensity is right where it needs to be. If you’re going to be anything in this league, you’ve gotta have an edge. There’s no room for soft. There’s no room for a person who’s going to give ground. Hell, yeah, I’m trying to gain an advantage out here. If you’re not, then you’re in some trouble. If you can’t handle it, get off the court.”
  • “My job is to stop you, so I don’t anticipate you liking me. I don’t anticipate you trying to be my friend, because I’m not trying to be your friend.”
  • “Half the stuff you probably hear about me is not even true. I’m not doing anything different than what I’ve been doing the 15, 16 years I’ve been playing. It’s nothing personal towards anybody I play. It’s the way I play, night in and night out.”
  • “Game 7 was a time where I was speechless, and if I were sitting here to tell you it didn’t give me an extra push, then I would be lying.” [followed by a loooooooooooong pause]
  • “The league knows what we are. Everybody. Ain’t nothing to talk about. All our talk is in our play, so stay tuned.”
  • “Water is tranquil. It’s tranquility to me. You get a sense of peace. I’m on of thoes people that sort of embraces the moment. I reflect. It’s a tranquil moment for me. It’s crazy that a lot of people when they meet me, they expect me to be this intense guy, and a lot of times I’m just laid back and as cool as anybody else.”
  • “Everybody says they want to win, but sometimes actions are different from words. That’s what’s most important to me when it comes to basketball.”
  • “See y’all in the Finals.”

Garnett may have been the focus of the episode, but his supporting cast should get some Bust Supporting Actor nominations, too. Here are a few more observations:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Mike Bibby
Doc Rivers hopes Jeff Green can be the new James Posey 02.25.11 at 7:14 pm ET
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Doc Rivers told reporters in Denver that he envisioned newly acquired guard/forward Jeff Green as being a player with the skill set to replicate the contributions made by James Posey in the team’s 2007-08 NBA title run. The Celtics coach suggested that the 24-year-old, whom Boston netted along with Nenad Krstic in exchange for center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson, offered the ability to spread the floor with offensive weapons.

“We’ve been trying to get that lineup since Posey left. And I think people forget how many times we did that in the playoffs, which was every fourth quarter for the most part,” Rivers told reporters. “We haven’t been able to duplicate that.”

As for the decision to part with Perkins, who was also a part of that 2007-08 championship team, Rivers said that the performance of Shaquille O’Neal would be critical to the way in which the deal is assessed. O’Neal has not played since Feb. 1, but Rivers said that the 38-year-old is expected to return in good health.

“We need to get Shaq healthy. Shaq will be healthy. But if Shaq plays great, then this deal was obviously really, really good for us,” Rivers said. “And that’s on Shaq. Getting Shaq in great shape, getting him ready, getting him healthy is really going to be important for us in the playoffs.”

Meanwhile, though much of the attention on the locker room dynamics of the deal has fallen on the departure of Perkins from Boston, Green’s exit from Oklahoma City was being treated with comparable gravitas. About 12 minutes into his discussion of the deal with reporters at a press conference, Thunder GM Jeff Presti choked up when he discussed Green’s departure. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Doc Rivers, James Posey, Jeff Green, jeff presti
Ian Thomsen: After C’s moves, ‘not sure who they are now’ at 1:56 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated senior writer Ian Thomsen joined the midday show Friday with guest hosts John Rooke and Kirk Minihane to talk about the Celtics‘ moves this week, mainly the trade that sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.

Thomsen said the Celtics forged an identity this season as a big physical team, following their NBA finals loss to the Lakers last June. Now, the identity has changed.

“First of all, I was just wondering who the Celtics are now?” Thomsen said of his initial reaction to the trade. “Before they signed [Shaquille O’Neal] last summer, I was wondering who they were. Because they were outrebounded in the finals, the Lakers front line looked too big for them, even when Perkins was playing. But then when they got Shaq, and you thought about Shaq and Perkins as the front line, now you thought that they were going to have an edge to them, they were going to be able to play down low, they’d always have a big man in there, for 48 minutes, potentially.

“And now again, I’m just not sure who they are now, what the edge is. There are things that they can no longer take for granted: that they can guard Dwight Howard one on one, that they’re going to throw a lot of size at the Lakers ‘€” like a big offensive line that creates room for [Rajon] Rondo and all the other guys.

“So, it’s just now going to be interesting to see what’s going to be the new identity of the team. Because no matter what they do, if they get Troy Murphy or anybody else, it won’t be able to replicate what they had in Perkins. And Shaq just won’t be able to give them enough minutes, even if he’s healthy ‘€” 25, 28, 30 minutes, maybe.”

Looking at matchups against the C’s main competition, such as LeBron James‘ Heat, Thomsen said you can evaluate it a couple of ways.

“It’s like a chicken-or-egg thing,” he said. “Do you respond to matchups of other teams or do you create matchups of your own that they can’t deal with? So now, against Miami, was one reason Boston had an edge over Miami this year because of guys like Kendrick Perkins and the physical edge that they clearly have over Miami? So, you can say, OK, you don’t need to worry about Miami’s big men, so you can afford to get rid of Kendrick Perkins. But in letting go of him, are you letting go of your inherent advantage over them. And now are you sort of playing their game as opposed to making them play your game. They’re less of an imposing team without Perkins. They’re playing more to Miami’s style.

“On the other hand, Jeff Green is huge against LeBron. Because the Celtics knew they couldn’t win without a real backup 3 to help [Paul] Pierce against LeBron, to help against Kobe [Bryant], some of these other big guys on the wings. And now they have that. Jeff Green is going to come off the bench, and LeBron is going to know that for the 43 or 44 minutes he’s playing every playoff game this spring, he’s going to have somebody decent guarding him.”

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Read More: Glen Davis, Ian Thomsen, Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins
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