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Doc Rivers admits Kendrick Perkins trade was a mistake

Sep 13, 2013, 2:07 PM EST

NBA Finals Game 6:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

When it went down, Celtics fans were up in arms — Boston traded Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City mainly for Jeff Green. Danny Ainge’s name suddenly came with a new adjective for Boston fans, and it’s one we can’t repeat here.

Since then Boston has defended the trade and as Perkins’ production has slipped some of the anger dissipated.

Doc Rivers now admits it was a mistake.

Speaking to WEEI at a charity event in Boston this week, Rivers said he thought it was a mistake because it exposed Kevin Garnett more and hurt him.

“I think so,” reflected Rivers, “because we needed the toughness. The one thing we did by losing Perk was we removed Kevin’s protector. I didn’t think it was a coincidence that, after Perk left, that Kevin got into all those little flicks with the other teams. Perk deflected all that.”

After Boston made that trade they never got back to the NBA Finals, although there were a number of reasons from injuries to the rise of the Heat that caused Boston to fall short.

What’s done is done. However, there are still remnants of the deal — it will be interesting to see how Jeff Green does this season with a lot more responsibility on his shoulders.

Oklahoma City hasn’t loved the deal either as Perkins’s play has deteriorated. However, Perkins may have a renewed role in Oklahoma City as they try to get back to the Finals and have to face teams like Memphis and now Houston with some big front lines. Perkins isn’t much use to OKC against a team like Miami that plays small (nor is he much use on offense), but he has a role as a defender against traditional centers.

  1. 00maltliquor - Sep 13, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Doc sure is doing a lot of talking lately.

    • steelcurtainwereonpedstoo - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:29 PM

      You would to, if Danny Ainge. your boss tried to throw you under the bus

    • badintent - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      The guy has lungs of titanium. And the hot air of Death Valley to fill them.Can’t blame his son for playing for another team. LOL

  2. j0esixpack - Sep 13, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Doc was back in Boston to fulfill a fundraising commitment so of course he had to field questions

    Hindsight is 20/20

    Ainge traded future production for what Perk offered that season (as he was unlikely to re-sign)

    But given how close they were to contending that season I’m sure Doc – who is clearly a “win now” coach as evidenced by his desire to leave Btown – would find a lot of agreement among Celtics fans

  3. tcclark - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    It was a mistake…. but for OKC. Perkins is no better than Kwame Brown. I’ve been saying it on this sight for years now. The only difference is that Kwame was the first overall pick so he is labeled a bust. Neither can score. Neither rebound very much (in fact, Kwame rebounds a little more) and neither block shots very well for their size. I mean Spencer Hawes has been a better shot blocker than Perkins the past three years. Spencer freaking Hawes. The only thing Kendrick Perkins brings to the game of basketball is the ability to guard low post threats in the NBA which happens to be the only real skill Kwame Brown has. The man is a younger Tony Battie. Seriously, check out the numbers, study their games. They essentially traded Tony Battie for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic who isn’t much worse than Perk anyway. They robber OKC in that trade. Jeff Green on the OKC Roster would have put them over the edge. Especially playing Miami in the championship where Perkins low post defense ability is worthless.

    • Kansachusetts - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      They only robbed OKC if Green ever comes through. All he has shown so far is promise. If he can’t blossom into a big-time player when Rondo In Boston’s system, Perkins had a role well suited to him, and supporting players who appreciated him, as Doc indicated. Who’s to say he wouldn’t have produced more had he stayed there? Nobody the Celts have tried, including Nenad, has done as well as Perkins did at center.

      • tcclark - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        First of all, 107 games of the current Jeff Green is still better than anything Perkins has done for OKC.

        Secondly, you ask “Who’s to say he wouldn’t have produced more had he stayed there?” But right before then, you said he had a role well suited for him. Generally guys don’t produce more while still performing the same role.

        As for your last comment, the Celtics haven’t really even tried to replace Perkins, even though it would be fairly easy. Perk is also so abnormally overrated that know one was going to fill that role. The fact of the matter is, the guy does so few things right.

    • spthegr8 - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      @tcclark
      You are DEAD ON!!!! He was also the reason they couldn’t re-sign Harden cuz they gave that big GOOF an extension after that trade. Kendrick isn’t worth the Charmin he wipes his A$$ with!!!

    • badintent - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:50 AM

      Good points on Hawes, but don’t diss Hawes so hard. He’ sworking on his game and is a project ….like Ron Hibbett. was for several years. Tyson Chandler can’t shoot either but he’s got game defensively and hits the boards hard.Hawes has a much better shot than Tyson

      • badintent - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:51 AM

        Good points on Perkins. should not type and watch TV at same time during X factor. LOL

      • tcclark - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Trust me, I watch a lot of Spencer Hawes being a Sixers fan. He has a good game and is underrated in a lot of aspects, but he’s no defensive dynamo. I was only using him to show that Kendrick Perkins is not a shot blocker despite what everyone might say. No one ever confuses Spencer Hawes with being a shot blocker. Sure he’s blocks shots pretty well, but he’s not Josh Smith or Serge Ibaka. The same should be said about Kendrick Perkins.

  4. jimeejohnson - Sep 13, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    Perkins worked in the Celtics scheme but he’s wasn’t and still isn’t not an offensive force to say the least. The bigger loss for the Celtics was Tony Allen. Anyone who ever defended LeBron James well has to have utility for some team.

  5. giantssb42champs - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Cost them the 2009 title.

    • tcclark - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Perkins was on that team…

  6. homieshome - Sep 14, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    oH come on doc! The Kncisk are the reason, the Celtics go to the ECF one year and lose to the Knicks the next. GET OVER IT

  7. antistratfordian - Sep 14, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    I used to respect Doc, but the Ray Allen episode revealed him to be just as conniving as Danny Ainge.

    And now I’m seeing that side of him more often each time he says something. This is classless. And furthermore I’d posit that the biggest mistakes being made in Boston the last few years had to do with Doc’s coaching.

    “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

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