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Ainge: Perkins trade not the reason team lost

May 16, 2011, 12:03 PM EDT

Danny Ainge AP

The moment the trade of Kendrick Perkins went through, you knew this is how it would go down — when the Celtics fell out of the playoffs the trade was going to be blamed. Danny Ainge was going to get blamed.

Throw in an early second round exit and you have Ainge getting a lot of heat.

But he still defends the trade.

Ainge went on CSN New England and said the trade of Perkins to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green (other players were involved as well). (Watch the video at the bottom of this post)

“I don’t think that the presence of one player standing in the middle of the paint was going to [help] our offense score more, wasn’t going to prevent LeBron James from shooting step-back 3-point jump shots with Paul Pierce and Jeff Green draped all over him,” Ainge told Comcast SportsNet’s Greg Dickerson in a one-on-one interview.

“I mean, we scored zero points with four or five minutes to go in two games. That was not because of who we had playing center. That had a lot more to do with our best players not being able to score.”

And please don’t tell him the Celtics lost their toughness when they lost Perkins.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. We lose our toughness because we trade one player?” he said. “What do you think Kevin Garnett feels about that? What do you think Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo [feel about that]? Like, we only have one guy that’s a tough player, that brings an element of toughness?”

Ainge is right. Kind of. Having Perkins in house would not have given the Celtics the offense in the paint they lacked against the Heat. Perkins alone could not have swung that series.

But an implied part of the Perkins trade was putting all their eggs in the Shaquille O’Neal basket. And that proved to be the real issue. The Shaq from November might have made a difference in this series, but the fact he never came close and there was no good backup plan can be put on Ainge. Unless you consider Jermaine O’Neal a good backup plan. Sure, nobody expected Shaq to be out that long. But Shaq was supposed to be the Plan B when he was signed and when he became Plan A there came with that big risks.

And remember you may get Shaq back — Shaq has a player option for next season. He can pick it up and return and there is nothing you can do about it. That is on Ainge, too.

Ainge admits the trade didn’t work out. But he is right the trade was not the reason the Celtics lost to the Heat, at least not that alone.

  1. sguy2130 - May 16, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    As a Cavs fan, I wish the Celtics would have looked that old last season. I don’t like Ainge, but I’ll agree with him.

    The Celtics had a great run, but they need to get younger, and moving an overpriced Perkins for some assets might have been the right choice.

  2. henryd3rd - May 16, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Nice try Danny Boy! The man will not admit that trading Perkins didn’t affect the chemistry of the Celtics. Yes he right trading Perk wasn’t all the Celtics were lacking; but depending on a crippled Shaq as well as a hobbled Jermaine O’Neal was a recipe for disaster and it has been proven out in the series with the Heat.

    Sadly the coming years will be just as difficult for the Celtics; because they have become “tweeners.” That is they are between being a good team and a lottery team. Hence there is no hope on the horizon for them to get better and Ainge has already shown us he only knows how to get rid of players not acquire good players. Oh Kevin Garnett? There are no GM’s in the NBA who are willing to give up a Hall of Fame player i.e., named McHale still working?

    • passerby23 - May 16, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      Ainge is right, they didn’t lose the series because they weren’t tough. Their defense was still pretty damn good. They lost because they couldn’t score. Perkins, if anything, would’ve undermined their scoring ability even more.

      Jermaine O’Neal actually gave them some pretty good minutes, but again, he wasn’t able to give them the scoring punch they needed. Shaq would’ve helped space the floor. Ainge rolled the dice, it didn’t work, but I don’t think he was wrong.

  3. fouldwimmerlaik - May 16, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    What else would you expect him to say? He isn’t going to come out and admit he screwed up. He is Danny Ainge, dammit!

  4. thisisether - May 16, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Actually, when you lose a good defensive player, you can’t play “tough” aggressive defense on people…so yea, you can lose your toughness with one player.
    That’s why KOBE makes all defensive NBA every year, he can play aggressive defense because he’s had 7 footers behind him his whole career to make up for his mistakes…

  5. dirtybird2020 - May 16, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    I somewhat agree with this article, but perkins in the paint might have kept mii out of the paint, the reason they needed more offense is cause their defense wasnt holding players from scoring easy buckets, shaq wouldve been big though 10 points 10 rebounds a force in the paint and 6 hard fouls! Rondo was the factor though, we is very smart but ineffective when hurt or not focused, hurt in this series would be the case

  6. passerby23 - May 16, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    A healthy Rondo and the Celtics are at least up 3-2 and quite possibly winning the series. Forget all the Kendrick Perkins talk. Had they advanced and played Chicago and lost, I think that’s where they could’ve used him.

  7. Kansachusetts - May 16, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    We lose our toughness because we trade one player?” he said.”What do you think Kevin Garnett feels about that? What do you think Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo [feel about that]?”

    Well, Danny, I think Kevin, Paul, Ray and Rondo feel that you’re an idiot.

  8. davidly - May 17, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    It’s about continuity and chemistry. They traded him at a time that put them at a disadvantage, closing out the season. It affected their position in the playoffs (maybe they wouldn’t have played Miami) and it made them adjust their style of play going forward.

    Sure, Perkins’ mere presence on the floor couldn’t have directly blocked a three by LJ, but do you have to watch the ‘Back to the Future’ series to see how it changes everything else, which would in turn make that three-point shot less likely? Of course not. You just have to know about defensive rotation.

    The irony is, Perkins’ is gonna help Ok City less than his absence hurt Boston. I see that trade as a lose-lose as far as this season is concerned.

  9. roachouse - May 17, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    Remix…..F…F…FI….FI….FIRE AINGE!

  10. mtbballer12 - Mar 12, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    R u KIDDING ME?!!!

  11. mtbballer12 - Mar 12, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    you have to be kidding me! You cant tell the whole Celtics Universe that trading Perk didnt change anything. Number one- Games are won on defence. The offence will present itself at any given time and one player doesn’t stop the flow of that offence. If they were stuck at zero points the whole game then talk to me about offensive flow. Number two- Age is now a factor as many people are coming to realize and trading Perk hasn’t made it any easier for the team especially KG down low. May I add that KGs knee injury is proving to be more than ke can handle considering he makes no attemp at all to get a ball that’s in the air or jump to lock a shot. Sure, he may not want to risk getting hurt but hey, thats what he signed up for. And yes, one player does make a difference to how a team functions whether it being mental toughness or just overall team chemistry. You could clearly see that the team was hurt because thats the kind of person Perk was. You got attached to him because of his leadership on the court making sure his teammates were focused even if he was not. You must be completely out of your mind if you can say that Perk wasn’t special.

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