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Ainge says the Kendrick Perkins trade makes Boston better

Mar 7, 2011, 5:51 PM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics Getty Images

I’ve heard plenty of Celtics fans tell me why I am wrong, but count me in the group that thinks trading away Kendrick Perkins will come back to haunt Boston.

I’m not alone, Dan Shaughnessy ripped Ainge in Sports Illustrated when the trade went down. But Monday he gave Ainge a chance to defend the trade.

“I think we’re stronger. I think our offense and our defense will be every bit as good, if not better as long as we get some bodies healthy….

“First of all, we were leading the conference because of Shaq. We had a better record with Shaq than we did with Perk. Our offense was better and our defense was at least the same. I don’t think Perk is Perk yet. I hope that he becomes that for Oklahoma City’s sake. We thought it was going to take some time for Perk. He wasn’t the shot-blocker or the rebounder that he’s been in the past. We think that by adding Jeff Green (Green had 21 against the Warriors last Friday), Nenad Krstic, and Troy Murphy we think we’re a better team than we were. Shaq was starting for us when we had the great run this year. Baby (Glen Davis) was finishing for us. So we basically lost middle minutes.

Ainge has more trust in Shaq to be able to perform consistently in the playoffs — especially on the defensive end — than I do. He thinks more of Jeff Green than I do.

But Ainge knew the risks he was taking in a season where the Celtics had a real shot at a title. He would not have made a move he knew jeopardized the Celtics title team. He knew how this would be received by the veterans in the locker room

Credit Ainge for making a bold play. We’ll see how it turns out in May and June.

  1. zackd2 - Mar 7, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Shocking. I expected the GM to say that he just made a bunch of moves to his championship-caliber team and his team got worse.

  2. henryd3rd - Mar 7, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    If and that a big if Shaq is healthy and can contribute down the stretch then and only then can we consider that trade a good move; but the last time I looked Shaq had not returned to the line up. By the way Perkins has an ailing knee and has yet to suit up for the Thunder so maybe it’s a wash?

    • mjdkid100 - Mar 7, 2011 at 9:16 PM

      It be a wash if the celtics didn’t get a solid 24 yr old player to build around with rondo. Perkins body has taken beatings and will not age well…

  3. henryd3rd - Mar 7, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    If and that a big if! If Shaq is healthy and can contribute down the stretch then and only then can we consider this to be a good move. But the last time I looked Shaq had not returned to the line up due to injuries and by the way Perkins has an ailing knee and has yet to suit up for the Thunder so maybe it’s a wash?

  4. andyhr17 - Mar 7, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    It’s ridiculous how fickle everyone is! This is a Celtics team that has the second best record in all of basketball and the majority of the season has been played without Perkins. Since the trade, the team is 5-1 yet so many people are writing them off because now Perkins is gone. At the same time, the Heat are in shambles and have no big men, yet so many people are saying to watch out for them in the playoffs and don’t write them off.

    • zackd2 - Mar 7, 2011 at 11:08 PM

      Because the playoffs is about match ups.

      • andyhr17 - Mar 8, 2011 at 6:13 AM

        Yes, and Miami is great matching up against other teams with their lack of quality point guard, lack of center, a bench that is incapable of scoring any points, and a coach who has no idea how to draw up any plays at the end of games. In Spoelstra’s defense, though, it’s hard to show guys the plays to run when they have tears running down their faces.

  5. passerby23 - Mar 7, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    Once again, the point repeatedly missed and a big reason the trade was made is that there was zero depth behind Pierce. Are you going to play him the whole game? They needed Jeff Green to be the versatile 3 or 4 (if needed) to spell Pierce and provide a few extra fouls they’re going to need in the playoffs.

    I also agree with Ainge about building for the future and remaining competitive. Perk was as good as gone and we still don’t know if his health is going to be right this season. Relying on him is taking a gamble.

    Shaq is needed against the Magic and Lakers. Outside of that, they can win with what they’ve got.

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 8, 2011 at 11:18 AM

      Passerby23, I think Perkins matters more along the back line than you do. The other thing I think we disagree on — I think Jeff Green is pretty much an average NBA player. Not a building block, but a guy who has looked better than he is because of the teams he has played on. He’s not bad, I think he’s got a professional game and attitude, but I don’t think he’s better than an average replacement player. So I don’t think you got much back in the deal. But we’ll see how it plays out over the next few years. He is better than Marquis, but I think that the loss of Perkins matters more, and not just against the Magic and Lakers.

      • Kansachusetts - Mar 8, 2011 at 11:25 AM

        I agree with Helin. There were ways to replace Marquis Daniels without trading Perk. There might be something to the argument that Perk is too banged up and won’t be able to contribute, but I don’t see it. He was functioning well when he returned. The Celtics are a great team, and it doesn’t take nearly as much to rack up victories in the first half of the season as it does in the playoffs. Bottom line, who do you want to go up against the big centers in the playoffs: Perkins or Krstic? Perkins knows the schemes. And he’s bigger.
        Just don’t say “Shaq” because he can’t give you the minutes.

      • passerby23 - Mar 8, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        I’m not undervaluing Perkins. The guy is a stud. But, one knee is coming off serious reconstructive surgery, the other is laboring as we speak. IF his health isn’t right, the trade suddenly looks very good. Boston’s championship window is not just this year, but probably next year as well. Do you let Perkins walk and leave a gaping hole in your championship roster?

        I disagree about Green. Sure, his interior defense leaves something to be desired and his shooting % could be better, but he’s a guy who can score, spread the floor, rebound, play more than one position, and fit in with guys around him. There aren’t a lot of guys who can provide that versatility. Average players usually do one or two things well and that’s it.

        I could be proven wrong and have egg on my face. Only time will tell.

  6. dnbajunkie - Mar 8, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    I agree, Danny Ainge move was all about economics and the start of rebuilding a championship team. It has nothing to do with improving their position for this season’s play-offs. Celtics pride themselves as being a great defensive team, so why would you trade your defensive anchor just before the play-offs. . Sorry, but Kristic will never fit into Perkins shoes, Shaq was good but is now too old to be competitive in a play-off phase. Celtics will have defensive difficulties this post-season.

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