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Report: Kendrick Perkins was kind of a jerk to Russell Westbrook

Sep 17, 2011, 7:30 PM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One Getty Images

You would think that news about internal conflict in the Thunder locker room would come from the Daily Oklahoman, or, you know, someone west of the Mississippi. But the New York Daily News Saturday brought a hefty piece of intrigue to its pages regarding the Thunder. Apparently Kendrick Perkins‘ arrival in OKC was controversial and brought some player unhappiness. And not just in the Celtics. From the Daily News:

As much as coach Scott Brooks chafes at GM Sam Presti’s meddling, his presence in the locker room, and his demands that the Thunder continue to improve from within, the organization is a lot more concerned with how Kendrick Perkins treats Russell Westbrook.

After arriving from the Celtics last season and being looked at as the veteran leader Oklahoma City needed to take the next step to compete for a title, Perkins went hard at Westbrook with his verbal criticisms, often saying that the Thunder’s playmaker couldn’t match Rajon Rondo as a playmaker. Those words didn’t sit well with Westbrook, who already had been criticized for shooting too much and was the subject of a benching heard-round-the-NBA when the Thunder played the Mavs in June.

via As NBA moves closer to canceling training camps, Amar’e Stoudemire & Kendrick Perkins making news.

It seems unlikely that Perkins would come in complaining to a locker room he doesn’t know, especially when he wasn’t at full strength at any point last year. It’s not like Perkins made a huge impact on the Thunder’s season. His defense was fine enough, but Kendrick Perkins wasn’t the difference=maker in their making the Western Conference Finals. He struggled guarding Zach Randolph (along with the rest of the Western world). And he was largely ineffective in the WCF versus Tyson Chandler and Dirk Nowitzki. So for him to point fingers sounds a little nuts.

Furthermore, Perkins has never been known to be that kind of trouble maker. Still, it wouldn’t shock anyone to think some Thunder players had issues with Westbrook’s hyper-aggressiveness. But comparing him to Rondo is a bit absurd, considering Westbrook can shoot circles around Rondo and Westbrook isn’t flanked by three Hall of Famers. The Thunder have built their success on chemistry and closeness. Any rumor of disconnect is going to send ripples and, true or not, annoy the team when it reconvenes after the lockout.

  1. supermattbjorke - Sep 17, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Zzzzzzzzzz that’s about as exciting as this article.

  2. davidtong - Sep 17, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    The headline totally doesn’t match the article body… I wish PBT would stop using these tabloid headline tactics 😦

  3. idywild - Sep 17, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    ” But comparing him to Rondo is a bit absurd, considering Westbrook can shoot circles around Rondo and Westbrook isn’t flanked by three Hall of Famers.”

    this doesn’t contradict what Perk was saying though. Rondo IS the better playmaker. Westbrook is also flanked by the league’s leading scorer, so he needs to play his role. But I’m sure this whole thing is an over-exaggeration. Perk is a nice guy. He really is.

    • urodaddy07 - Sep 17, 2011 at 11:54 PM

      Westbrook is the mor skilled individual player, Rondo is a better point guard. But Westbrook will get better at playmaking. I don’t think this is a major issue. He should continue to be aggressive, he just needs to learnwhen to pick his spots and understand that as the man with the ball he needs to share it even when he doesn’t have to.

  4. conjecture101 - Sep 17, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    its called karma. They had Tyson Chandler and gave him back for “injury concerns”

  5. david8726 - Sep 17, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    Who says Perkins was out of line?

    There are a lot of NBA observers who feel that Westbrook shoots too much and needs to become better at involving others. He was benched during that one game for a reason, you know.

    Comparing Westbrook to Rondo might be a low blow, but Perkins’ overall point rings true. It sounds as if he criticized Westbrook for the same thing that everyone else on the outside has criticized him for.

    Isn’t that what a leader is supposed to do? Call out guys when they aren’t doing what is best for the team?

    Also, we have no idea who the sources were for that article and if the whole story has been told, so lets not jump to too many conclusions.

  6. trbowman - Sep 18, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    As usual, Westbrook gets more criticism than he deserves. If I’m choosing between them, give me Westbrook over Rondo ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. Guy gets an awful rap.

    Perk is a tool.

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 18, 2011 at 2:19 AM

      Well said.

  7. billyhoyle4real - Sep 18, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    Thunder up and Rise Together.
    Sounds like somebody needs to tow the company line. This team is destined for greatness, a little more time and the rings will pile up.

  8. diablito0402 - Sep 18, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Im i wrong, but j mostly see about 28 points and 13 assists a game very often from westbrook, he is young, rondo cant score, a game where garnett and pierce where hurt and didnt play rondo looked lost, rondo is only as good as the people around him..

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 18, 2011 at 5:29 PM

      No, you’re right. Rondo’s not garbage though, but he does need his weapons out there for him to succeed otherwise teams will focus on him and he gets his points off of players laying off him and crafty drives to the hoop. Westbrook is a BEAST.

  9. smoakhill - Sep 22, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    The Thunder are and should be Durant’s team. Westbrook as a PG is ineffective when he’s not the top dog, in my opinion. He deserves to be running the show on his own team.

    I think Chris Paul would work a whole lot better with Durant and I think if there is a season Sam Presti will hope that New Orleans calls him. Westbrook is an exciting player who could sell a lot of tickets if he can find consistency.

  10. jimsjam33 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    Westbrook is a piller in the organization Perkins is not . If he bitches , moans and groans trade him back to the Celtics for Green . That would make everybody happy . Coombaya for everybody !

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