May 31, 2011, 10:06 AM EST
Some people in Oklahoma City blamed Kendrick Perkins for the fall of the Thunder in the conference finals to Dallas. Those people are wrong. Perkins was not causing Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to miss shots at the end of games. Jeff Green would not have saved them (people continue to overvalue him).
Perkins was brought in to deal with the size of the Los Angeles Lakers. Then Dallas removed that obstacle from the path.
And Perkins was never really healthy enough to deal with the more mobile bigs of the Mavericks. This summer, the Thunder want Perkins to get healthy first, according to Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman.
Sam Presti sat Kendrick Perkins down for his exit interview on Thursday and showed the center clips of his old self before he busted up both of his knees. The footage was incredible….
“He just told me that we’re going to get you back to that point and even better,” Perkins said.
That’s become the main offseason goal for Perkins, the Thunder’s 6-foot-10 center who became a polarizing player in Oklahoma City following the mid-season trade that shipped Jeff Green to Boston.
Perkins blew out his right ACL in the NBA finals last season with Boston, came back from that in January but sprained his knee again before being traded to Oklahoma City. He has not been right all season. Combine that with the bad matchups in the playoffs and he could not bring what the Thunder needed.
The Thunder need him to be right and to bring some rebounding and toughness inside if they as a team are going to take another step forward next season. He is a good fit, he can bring the defensive presence they need. The attitude they need.
But he has to get healthy first.
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