Bad Gamble By Ainge Hurt Celtics

A Sports Blog by WBZ-TV's Dan Roche

BOSTON (CBS) – On Celtics media when training opened to begin this season, I asked Kevin Garnett just how much he liked this particular Celtics team and he promptly answered, “I don’t like us, I love us.”

That was before the C’s even stepped on the floor to begin the 2010-11 season. And, way back then the team looked great on paper with the additions of Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal plus Delonte West.

But things never worked out.

Reason number one? The trading of Kendrick Perkins.

In late February, Ainge pulled the trigger on a deal that shocked Celtics fandom. They shipped perk and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City in exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.

Read: Doc Rivers Says He “Probably Will” Return Next Season

I can understand Danny’s reasons for doing it. He wanted to get a younger player that he could pair with Rondo and build upon for the future. He also felt he wasn’t going to be able to re-sign Kendrick Perkins. Fine.

But, for this season… this playoff run… Ainge lost.

This was a Celtic team that had as good a chemistry as I have ever seen. The starting five knew each other as brothers. Doc Rivers was the father figure to these guys and the rest of the players brought in just had to carve out a role and they’d be fine. Posey, Brown, Big Baby, Nate, etc…

KG was the leader with his intensity both on and off the floor. As long as he was healthy things were good. Each of there other four starters knew their role. Pierce would keep up his all-around game, Ray would keep shooting and hitting threes, Perk would compliment KG on defense to guard the pick-and-roll and the paint. Rondo would play outstanding defense while keeping the engine running on offense. They also didn’t want to let each other down as well as Doc… especially in the postseason. This starting five had never lost a series when together and nearly won two titles in three years.

Then, in one trade, it was all gone.

We saw the team get amazingly emotional when the deal went down. We heard that Rondo took it maybe the hardest.

Read: Big Baby “I Have A Lot More To Offer”

We saw a team struggle to find its identity. The swagger was gone. They tried to welcome both Green and Krstic to their family. However, Green looked like you would expect he would; a talented kid that didn’t know when to shoot or drive on offense. Krstic simply couldn’t play the type of defense that this team needed.

Shaq and Jermaine went from perfect role players, giving you 12-20 great minutes per game, to needed starters and their bodies just couldn’t hold up after years of wear and tear.

Meanwhile, the bench became totally ineffective and it cost Boston big time. The Big Three, which had played so many playoff games in the previous three years, had to log way too many minutes down the stretch so that the C’s could at least capture home court advantage for one round. The Big Three, especially KG and Paul were tired. And what did that lead to? Inconsistent performances in the postseason. Great one night… awful the next. Missing shots down the stretch. Physical and mental fatigue.

Now, I know if Rajon Rondo hadn’t gotten hurt that maybe things could have been different, but, it still didn’t look or feel right with this group.

And, by the way, the trade may be a great thing for Ainge and the Celtics down the road. Jeff Green may become a huge piece of a future title here in Boston. Things could work out. I give Danny a ton of credit for having the guts to pull the trigger. That’s why he is one of the best at what he does. There’s no question in my mind.

However, for this one team… this one single season… 2010-11… the trade was a bad move. And, that’s the realty we wake up to the day after the new Big Three ended the old Big Three’s season.

More from Dan Roche
  • FleecingOfTheCelts

    Danny Ainge should resign in disgrace over the Kendrick Perkins trade. Yes, it was THAT BAD.

    This was the Celtics last best chance to win Banner 18 for a good 10 years. Instead of going all in Danny Ainge ships Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and magic beans. Tell me Nate Robinson can’t give you what career backup Jeff Green does? Let alone the fact that the Celtics had one of the best records in the NBA at the trade deadline.

    Since the Kendrick Perkins trade, the Celtics went into a free fall, cemented by a pathetic showing against a real contender, the Miami Heat. Meanwhile, over in Oklahoma City, Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson are still playing basketball and have given the Thunder an intangible energy they simply didn’t have at the trade deadline. There is a very real chance the Thunder could go to the NBA Finals and win it all. If they do, it would be easy to argue that the aggressiveness and tenacity Kendrick Perkins gave them was the missing piece of the puzzle.

    So, there you have it: Danny Ainge has essentially traded away the Celtics last real shot at Banner 18 for a good decade or so to give the Oklahoma City Thunder the final piece they were missing to make a real playoff run. Either Danny Ainge admits he was wrong, accepts full responsibility for the Celtics collapse, and resigns in disgrace, or he may as well use the Kendrick Perkins money he was so desperate to save to finance “No, No Nanette”.

  • Matt

    Come on Roche, you’re better than this. Jermaine and Shaquille were injured before the Perk trade even happened. To lay their injuries on Perk being traded is hogwash. Marquis Daniels’ injury is the one that ruined this team’s season, because they had to find someone who could spell Pierce and Ray.Perk was also hurt when he was traded (oh yeah, everyone forgets that) and he admitted to TNT’s sidleine reporter last night that the knee he hurt in February was only 65% (this ISN’T the surgically repaired ACL knee, either). Laying it on the Perk trade is convenient journalism. The fact of the matter is Doc didn’t trust his bench until he was pressed into having to use them, and it’s been like that during his entire Celtics tenure. The Perk trade should be a footnote on this season, not the thesis.

  • Matty

    Fleecing, have you watched the Thunder play? Perk fouled out in the triple overtime game and missed key free throws. He”s averaging less than 4 points per game. Nate Robinson only cracks the lineup in garbage time. Think about it: Nate was one of the first guys off the Celtics bench and he ca’;t crack the OKC lineup. What does that tell you? It tells you this team wasn’t as good as we thought it was. If you honestly believe Perk and Nate had more to do with this playoff loss than injuries, age, or just the fact that Miami jelled at the right time, I suggest you start watching curling.

    • SOS

      I think it’s fairly safe to assume that if the Celtics had Kendrick Perkins right now, we would probably be talking about Game 6 (at a bare minimum) today instead of next year. I also think there’s a strong possibility that the Celtics have home court advantage as well.

  • Ed

    LMAO, The Kendricks Perkins trade had nothing to do with the Celtics losing the Miami series. This is really bad sports reporting Dan Roche. As for the dumb arses who agree with you, watch a different sport, since you know nothing about basketball.

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  • timma

    clean out a couple of old age homes, we’re bound to find some talent there!

  • Offy

    The late game fades by the Celtics had nothing to do with Perk being there or not. If you look at the other team, they aren’t scoring an abnormally high number of baskets. It’s just the the Celtics offense gets completely shut down. Perk isn’t going to offer any help when it comes to offense. The Celtics and their tired legs stop driving to the basket and start settling for jump shots. The bench (including Jeff Green) outplayed the starters in the final quarter.

    Everyone conveniently forgets that after six years in the league that Perk still doesn’t know how to set a screen properly. How many times is he called for moving screens per game? How about bringing the ball down after the catch and giving the defense time to react. How about the times when he doesn’t have his hands up ready for a pass and it bounces off of him. Everyone touts Perk’s intangibles (he’s tough, intimidating, etc.) but both his stats and other intangibles show that the Celtics didn’t lose a whole lot by trading him away. Jermaine O’Neal gave the Celtics more than Perk would have in a few of these playoff games.

  • charlie

    Too bad that Perk left but as Offy said he wasn’t that good anyway and he wasn’t committed to staying in Boston. The biggest problem Boston has is they can’t seem to develop their bench players. This has been an ongoing problem. I think that the bench needs to play; most of them must feel absolutely foolish just maybe once in a while playing minutes so someone else can sit down. They should be made to feel important in their own right and an meaningful part of the team.

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