It’s going to be weird.
With all due respect to Jeff Green, nobody in the Boston locker room wanted the Kendrick Perkins trade to go down. Perk was part of the family, part of the foundation, part of the reason there is banner 17 at the Boston Garden. Celtics fans didn’t like it much either, or the results since the trade. We can rationalize why it happened — maybe why it needed to happen as a basketball business move — but nobody really liked it.
Perkins landed on his feet. He’s now playing on the Oklahoma City Thunder, a serious title contender and the favorite to come out of the West. Perkins was a piece the young Thunder needed — someone to protect the rim, some size and grit inside to match up with the long front lines of the Lakers and Grizzlies. He was maybe the last piece to their puzzle.
But it’s going to be weird. Which is what players said in the video above and told A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.
“I don’t give a crap what uniform he has on,” Doc Rivers said. “He’s a Celtic for life, and he knows that.”
“We still talk daily,” Rajon Rondo said. “We’re still best friends.”
“Perk’s like my little brother,” Kevin Garnett said. “We speak quite frequently. I know when he first went out there, we spoke if not everyday, every other day. I know him and Rondo speak damn near on the hour.”
It’s not just going to be weird for the Celtics players and fans.
“It’ll be weird for me,” Perkins told CSNNE.com when asked about his first return to the Garden on Monday night. “Because you know, all I know — all I knew — was being a Celtic. But hey man, it’s a business….”
Said Perkins: “You know I’m always going to have love for Boston and the fans. I had some good times, some bad times, too. But they showed me a lot of love, lot of love.”
Kevin Durant told fans, dismayed by the lack of competitive games and series this postseason, “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”
Daring customers to choose another form of entertainment might not be good business for the NBA, but it’s not as if many fans needed an invitation. I doubt anyone was on the fence about watching then made up their minds after hearing Durant’s comments.
Yet, the Warriors star offered an apology.
Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:
“I mean, life can be simple, man, Durant told ESPN. “If you don’t like the way the game is going, just turn it off. If you’re enjoying it, just keep it on. Life is simple. I didn’t mean it to disrespect anybody, but if you felt disrespected, I’m sorry. But if you don’t enjoy the game, turn it off [and] turn something else on. If you do, enjoy the rest of it, man.”
This is just a softer touch on the same sentiment – and just as reasonable.
People who love the NBA will watch. People who hate the NBA won’t. And people in the middle will fluctuate depending on the quality of the product.
Anyone mad at Durant the first time was just looking for a reason to get upset. That group will probably find a source of irritation in the follow-up quote, too.
The rest of us didn’t need this (half-hearted) apology, anyway.
The Clippers are unraveling.
Of course, whether they can re-sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are the big questions. But they also must deal with smaller matters in free agency – like Marreese Speights.
Speights will opt out, his agent tweeted:
The Clippers will hold Speights’ Non-Bird Rights (technically a form of Bird Rights), allowing them to give him a starting salary up to $2,540,346 without using cap space or the mid-level exception.
The 29-year-old Speights, a stretch five who takes charges, fits the modern NBA. He could probably get more if he seeks it.
The Clippers won’t have cap space unless they lose Paul and Griffin, and at that point, re-signing a veteran like Speights is of little use. So, it would likely require the taxpayer mid-level exception or Speights taking a discount to keep him.
Luc Mbah a Moute can and likely will also opt out, and he’ll fall in the same Non-Bird situation. The Clippers would likely prioritize their mid-level exception for him – if it’s enough for either player.
Keeping Paul and Griffin is of the utmost importance, but that’s not the Clippers’ only challenge. Even if they keep those two stars, assembling even a decent supporting cast will difficult. Possibly losing J.J. Redick is the main issue there, but handling Speights’ and Mbah a Moute’s roster spots will also be pivotal.
Zaza Pachulia became the villain of the Western Conference finals when he injured Kawhi Leonard and torpedoed the Spurs chances of upsetting the Warriors.
But his teammates stood by him – then shared this fun moment with him after Golden State won the West.
Manu Ginobili received an emotional sendoff in the Spurs’ season-ending – and maybe Ginobili’s career-ending – loss to the Warriors last night.
The postgame press conference featured a lighthearted moment when, after the Argentinian guard answered a couple questions in Spanish, an American reporter – not wanting to miss big news – asked whether Ginobili had just announced his retirement.
No, Ginobili assured the reporter. He says he plans to take a few weeks to consider his options.