Perkins: 'There was a lot of crying'


Perkins: 'There was a lot of crying'

By A.Sherrod Blakely

DENVER As the Boston Celtics boarded their team bus to Denver's Pepsi Arena, Kendrick Perkins found himself in an unfamiliar role as a spectator.

This is what happens when you're part of a trade on a game night.

"It's tough man; real tough," Perkins said in a phone interview with shortly after he was shipped off to Oklahoma City along with Nate Robinson.

Perkins has never been one to keep his emotions bottled up.

When he's angry, you knew it by the scowl or the mean-muggin' face that he would make.

When he was happy, there was a smile that came around a lot more than people realize.

And then there was Thursday afternoon, a day of sadness unlike anything Perkins had ever experienced.

"There was a lot of crying, lot of hugging going on," said Perkins. "And a lot of it was me."

Kevin Garnett usually has a somber-like demeanor, win or lose.

But following Thursday's 89-75 loss to Denver, it was clear that Garnett, much like the rest of the Celtics, were still trying to make sense out of the trade that landed them Jeff Green (a former Celtics draft pick) and Nenad Krstic.

"It's not even about a teammate. It felt like you lost a family member today," Garnett said. "Tough day."

The trade really puts to the test just how much these players believe in their head coach, Doc Rivers, and Danny Ainge, the team's president of basketball operations.

"The only thing is, you hope that Danny and Doc know what they're doing," Pierce said. "We trust in them. It is what it is. We can't use any excuses, cry over spilled milk. Hopefully the guys we have coming in here and understand what we're trying to do, is championship goals."

Even before tip-off, it was clear that things were different -- and not in a good way for the Celtics.

The C's locker room is usually a boisterous place with various forms of music blasting through earphones.

On Thursday, the room was dominated by the sound of silence; the kind of silence you expect at a wake or funeral.

As they tried to come to grips with the reality that Perkins was gone, he was back at the hotel, wishing he could play with his "brothers" one more time.

"I miss them," Perkins said. "I ain't gonna lie. I'm gonna miss the hell out of them. It's going to be hard leaving them behind, leaving this team behind and the fans and this city. But this is a business, and being traded is part of that business."

He joins an Oklahoma City team that has a pair of All-Stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

But what has been missing in the Thunder's quest to be a title contender, is a physical enforcer-type who does a lot of the dirty work and does it well.

Enter Kendrick Perkins.

"That is one of the good things about all this," he said. "I'm going to a good team, a young team, but a good team. And from what I've been told, they wanted me pretty bad. That's always a good feeling, to be wanted."

The Celtics certainly wanted to keep him long term when they offered him a four-year contract extension worth about 22 million.

Perkins will likely play well enough to earn a much higher salary, which was among the reasons why he turned down the C's offer.

Even though Perkins and the Celtics were unable to come to terms on a contract extension, he is quick to say he has no ill will towards the organization or any of his teammates.

"Like I said earlier, I love this team and I love those fellas," Perkins said. "I'm playing for another team now, but I'm always going to pull for them when I see them play. We're brothers. That's never going to change."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.