BOSTON (CBS) – The Celtics pulled off three trades on Thursday, sending five players out-of-town, including starting center Kendrick Perkins.
Perkins was traded, along with guard Nate Robinson, to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green, center Nenad Krstic and a first round draft pick (from the Clippers, acquired by OKC earlier in the week) in a move not many, if any, saw coming.
In case you were still in shock from the Perk trade, here are the other moves Danny Ainge pulled off before Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline:
- C’s trade Semih Erden and Luke Harangody to Cavaliers for a second round pick
- C’s trade Marquis Daniels to Kings for cash
So what does all this mean? For starters, the Celtics are going to be short on big-men for a bit. Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal are both injured at the moment, although Shaq is expected back next week. Krstic will most likely come off the bench when Shaq returns, and Green will serve as Paul Pierce’s backup at small forward.
Green, a 24-year-old swingman, was averaging 15.2 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Thunder. He was originally drafted by the Celtics fifth overall in 2007, before being traded to the Seattle SuperSonics (now the Thunder) as part of the Ray Allen trade.
The two minor trades make sense. The Celtics cleared up three roster spots with the two additional trades, giving them a little wiggle room to add a veteran as soon as teams negotiate buy-outs. Names like Golden State forward Troy Murphy and Pistons guard Richard Hamilton have been floating around. Ainge could also have a retired player in mind, a-la P.J. Brown in 2008 (Rasheed Wallace anyone?).
But what about the departure of Perkins? This leaves a serious defensive hole. Perk was a hard-nosed, tough defender. He took on bigger (and in some cases more talented) centers like Orlando’s Dwight Howard and Los Angeles’ Andrew Bynum and was never afraid to do the dirty work in the paint. The move could mess with the Celtics team chemistry, as Perk was a locker room favorite. One can only imagine Kevin Garnett’s reaction when he heard about the trade.
If anything, the Perkins trade brings up more questions than answers. Will Shaq be able to handle a starter’s minutes when he comes back, and for how long? Will Krstic fit in, or will he be another center lost in the Celtics system (see Patrick O’Bryant)? More importantly, can the Celtics win a championship without Perkins’ defense?
The Celtics have 27 games to figure things out. Only time will tell if they can integrate the new players into the team’s system, or at least well enough to make a deep postseason run.