NBA Trade Deadline Blockbuster: Kendrick Perkins of Boston Celtics to Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green

From ESPN.com:

The Boston Celtics agreed to ship center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green and big man Nenad Krstic.

The Thunder also trade Morris Peterson and BJ White to Charlotte for Nazr Mohammed.

This is a huge, huge title contention changing deal for both teams. Okay, forget the Bulls mini-deal ending up as a game changer, this is the deal that can change the fate of two major title contenders!

The Boston Celtics Outlook:

Kendrick Perkins, the Celtics starting center, is a hugely important defensive piece and is absolutely the best at covering Dwight Howard and other top centers. It seems, however, that Dwight’s team won’t allow him to truly compete for the title this year, and even if not, the Celtics still have Jermaine O’Neil and Shaquille O’Neal at the 5 spot. There’s an injury concern there, but it isn’t insurmountable, especially if another 5, perhaps Samuel Dalembert, is bought out at the deadline. Nenad Kristic, who the Celts got in this deal, is also capable of starting at the 5, although he’s more a scorer than defender. Again, though, with Garnett as a power forward, against anyone but the Magic, that hardly matters.

Losing Nate Robinson is a pretty big deal, actually. Rondo needs a backup and while Von Wafer has been good, he’s hardly playoff tested. I can actually see this as more likely to bite the Celtics than losing Perkins, even though Perkins is far superior to Nate.

The Celtics frontcourt rotation at the 4 and 5 now features, Jermaine, Shaq, Kristic, Kevin Garnett, and Big Baby Davis (who often played the 5 at crunch time anyway). They add Jeff Green who was a 4 in Oklahoma City, but will likely be a backup 3 with the Celtics. He was the #5 pick in the draft that the Celtics traded the then Supersonics for Ray Allen and Davis. His addition now adds two major strengths to the Celtics.

First of all, the Celtics needed a swing player with Marquis Daniels likely out all year and Delonte West constantly hurt. Green is a 3, not a 2, but in the playoff rotation, it’s unlikely that matters, as Pierce will slide over to the 2 when Allen is out and Green just replaces Pierce straight up when Paul is out, but Allen is in. As a backup wing, Green is far above average. He’s a good shooter, defender and rebounder, all three things the Celtics value highly. Green is the kind of defender who can match up with either LeBron James or Chris Bosh, a versatility the Celtics clearly need.

Green is also a potentially important piece of the Celtics future. Garnett, Allen and Pierce are getting old. Green, along with Davis and Rondo would seemingly be the start of a new core for the team when the current big three retire or otherwise leave the team. Green is a resticted free agent after the year, but I’d expect the Celtics to match any offer for a guy that scores 15 a game as a third option behind Durant and Westbrook and is clearly capable of more.

Oklahoma City Thunder Outlook:

The Thunder just became serious competitors out west. With Durant and Westbrook already anchoring a great scoring unit they really mostly need role-players to fit around their big two and size to match up with the Lakers and Spurs big men. With two trades, they have absolutely taken care of what they needed. Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed are two big men with championship experience who can play defense, crash the boards and make opposing big men pay.

I’m not sure about the point of Nate Robinson here, with Eric Maynor already on the team, but Perkins and Mohammed, along with Ibaka sliding into the starting four-spot, as a similar player to Joakim Noah, and Nick Collison backing Ibaka as a tough defensive 4, the Thunder have the size to match up with Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom. The Lakers big men can be soft, so these intense physical players could put them over the top of a Laker team the Thunder already took to the limit last year.

Losing Jeff Green hurts. 15 ppg isn’t anything to sneeze at, but the defensive improvements should offset any offensive loss, and the Thunder can expect James Harden and Ibaka to pick up some of the load. Green was also a restricted free agent who apparently had little interest in the Thunder’s extension offer and was eying more money elsewhere. Green’s contributes were also somewhat redundant on a team with Durant, while big bodies were needed to help the thin 3. Green leaving doesn’t make the Thunder better, but his contributions aren’t irreplaceable and Perkins is a better fit.

Mo Peterson and BJ White didn’t play for the Thunder and are merely salary cap savings for the Bobcats.

Final Thoughts:

The Celtics may have slightly hurt themselves this year, unless they get another big body, but have really improved themselves for the future adding a potential young star who was already part of a winning climate getting big minutes.

The Thunder, meanwhile, made a huge move that cements them into making the West, just like the East, a top 4 climate. The Thunder, with Perkins and Nazr, are right there with the Lakers, Mavericks and Spurs. What a great move.

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