Rajon Rondo Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins returns to Boston for first time Monday

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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.”

Enjoy 50-best circus shots of last NBA season

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As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.

For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.

Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.

To avoid trash talk, Steven Adams told Kevin Garnett he didn’t speak English

Kevin Garnett
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Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.

Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.

Brilliant.

Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.

Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy “encouraged” by players speaking out, protesting social issues

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 17: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons yells to his players during the first half of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption ***Stan Van Gundy
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Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.

Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.

A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…

“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”

Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.

The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.

Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis

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It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.

But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Best. Dunk. Ever.

By anyone.

Weis was never the same.

In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.

Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.