Last January, when Kendrick Perkins faced the Celtics for the first time since they traded him away, Jeff Green was home. Recovering from heart surgery, which was a pretty good excuse to skip the game.
But that changes Friday when Green takes on the team that moved him in a still-controversial 2010 deadline deal when Oklahoma City visits Boston. Green had at one point been thought of as part of the indispensable young core of the improving Thunder, but that front office started to see things differently — they rightfully liked James Harden more — and decided to move him for a piece they needed.
Now Green finally faces his former team and… and Green don’t really seem to care. At least he is playing it that way. Look at what he told the Boston Herald.
“Do I still look at what Oklahoma City does? No,” a nearly expressionless Green said….
“I mean, I’m in a great situation here. This is a great fit for myself, coming to a situation where I’m playing alongside Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo. I was happy.”
And when asked about Perkins, he’s a fountain of compliments.
“He’s a good guy, and I respect him. He’s an awesome big. To me, he’s one of the best bigs in the game, because he plays both ends hard — and that’s what I like. I respect him for that. We had a chance to shoot the (expletive) a little bit. We talked about how people reacted to the trade and some other stuff. That’s about it.”
We’ll see if that’s how it goes when the game starts tonight. This has the potential to be interesting.
On one side, the Thunder have occasionally made the switch for a few plays this season to have Perkins cover the opposing point guard — a tactic used to throw the other team off guard. Perkins hounding Rondo for a couple possessions would be fun to watch.
On the other bench, Garnett has wanted Green to play with more fire this season — 7.9 points per game on 42.7 percent shooting with spotty defense is not what Boston expected — but they are only getting that in spurts. You would think this matchup would bring that out of him… but maybe not.
Maybe time has mellowed what should have been a rivalry-like moment. Or maybe that’s just not Green.