By A.Sherrod Blakely
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Kendrick Perkins is still focused on remaining a Boston Celtic after he becomes a free agent this summer.
Just as important, he wants to get a contract that he deems fair market value.
And the preliminary offer made by the Celtics, according to Perkins, won't cut it.
Perkins told CSNNE.com prior to Boston's 94-89 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats that the offer made to him was for four years around 22 million.
An earlier report by the Boston Herald cited two unnamed sources that indicated Perkins turned down a contract extension that was for four years and worth slightly less than 30 million.
"That wasn't it. They offered me four years, but it was closer to like 22 million," Perkins said. "You talking four years, 30 million! Shoot, that's different. That's a big difference."
When the offer was made, the C's had no idea as to when Perkins would return to the floor after having knee surgery, or how he would perform.
Needless to say, the 6-foot-11 center has exceeded everyone's expectations.
When he suffered a torn MCL and PCL right knee injury in Game Six of the NBA Finals last June against the Los Angeles Lakers, there was some concern that he might not be able to return at all this season.
Seven months later, there was Perkins, on the floor in his first game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 25.
It wasn't one of his best games - he had seven points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.
But it was good enough to show the Celtics and any other potential suitor, that he was still able to do many of the things he did prior to the injury.
And as he gets in better basketball shape as far as running and timing and such, Perkins' impact on games will only increase.
We saw some of that in Monday's loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.
One of Perkins' biggest concerns since he has been back has been his timing on blocked shots.
In his first six games back, he had just one rejection.
Perkins has racked up five blocked shots in the last two games, including a season-high three against the Bobcats.
Because of the intense conditioning Perkins has put his body through while rehabilitating his knee, he's arguably in the best shape of his career.
"I feel like it," he said in a recent interview with CSNNE.com. "I feel good; real good."
It shows in his play, which has been instrumental of late as the Celtics try to withstand another storm of injuries to their frontcourt.
Shaquille O'Neal remains out with an Achilles tendon injury, an injury that Celtics coach Doc Rivers said might keep him off the floor until after the All-Star break. Jermaine O'Neal recently had surgery on his left knee, and he's not expected back until sometime in late March or early April. And then there's Semih Erden, who has battled an assortment of injuries all season. Erden did not play on Monday because of a sore right adductor injury.
Although Perkins was supposedly on a minutes restriction after returning to the lineup, his play has made it difficult for Rivers to keep him off the floor.
After being limited to around 20 minutes in his first four games, Perkins has played at least 33 minutes in each of Boston's last three games.
In the eight games Perkins has played, he has averaged 6.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. In his first start, he tallied a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds in a 101-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 4.
He understands that his contract situation is something that will generate a lot of interest throughout the season, but it's not something he thinks about a lot.
"It's important, don't get me wrong," Perkins said. "But my biggest priority is getting out there, doing what I can to help this team win a championship. All that other stuff, the contract, the money . . . it'll all work out how it's supposed to, just as long as I go out there and do my job."