Big Problem Perk-olating? | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Big Problem Perk-olating?

The Celtics have a big hole that needs to be filled.  While the greater New England region is in the midst of a heat wave, think back to the spring when those crater-sized pot holes were all over the roads from the typical brutal winter weather.  That's about the same sized hole currently occupying the big man depth on the Celtics' roster right now.  Now that Danny Ainge has made the plan clear by riding out Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and (assuming he re-signs) Ray Allen, filling that hole has almost reached desperation status.

The first name to be churned around the green big man rumor mill was Brad Miller.  Solid fill-in option until Perk works his way back.  Since then, we've heard the names of Shaquille O'Neal (mildly intriguing), Kwame Brown (desperation is a stinky cologne), David Lee (recreational drugs are bad, kids), Brendan Haywood (can't afford him), Erick Dampier, (pound for pound, softest big man in the NBA), Jermaine O'Neal (best-worst FG % in a single playoff series ever), Marty Conlon (spotted him myself at the Garden in The Finals) and even Rasheed Wallace un-retiring before he ever really retired.

The "read-between-the-digital-internet-lines" message from the C's is loud and clear: If you are relatively close to being seven feet tall and have a pulse, we will have interest in signing you.  Don't for one second underestimate how vital it is for the Celtics to hire a temp.  More importantly however, don't underestimate how important the impending free agency of Kendrick Perkins is.

Perk is officially in a "contract year."  While he is not the dominating scorer in the post, he is one of the rarest creatures left in the NBA today.  Facing extinction, the true center of yesteryear is being phased out at an exponential rate.  As the playoffs proved (especially the Finals), having a solid group of bigs is vital to winning a title.  It was key for the Celtics obliterating the Heat, Cavs and Magic and nearly overtaking the Lakers.  It was a huge reason why they were the only team that put a real scare into that Laker team.

Watching this entire free agency madness this summer has made it even clearer how important it is for the Celtics to re-sign Perkins.  Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are an impressive core to build upon.  Spare me of the 2007 Celtics off-season comparisons, Mr. Bosh.  Mario Chalmers is a nice player but he is no Rajon Rondo.  On his best day, Joel Anthony is not even close to Kendrick Perkins WITH a torn ACL, even the 2007 version.

Perkins is due a now laughable $4.1 million for this upcoming season.  After that he is an unrestricted free agent.  If there is one good thing about his injury (that could only been seen while examining through an electron microscope), it's that it gives the Celtics leverage.  If Perk were a free agent this summer, he would probably be offered close to a max deal (doing my best Rick Kamla impersonation), especially if Darko Milicic got $20 million!

So while Danny Ainge is focusing on re-signing Ray Allen and rounding out the rest of the roster for a 2-year title run, it would behoove him to make an attempt to extend Perk THIS summer as well.  While next summer's big man crop is enticing (Al Horford (R), Tyson Chandler, Joakim Noah (R), Yao Ming, Marc Gasol (R), Joel Przybilla, Greg Oden (R), Tim Duncan (ETO)), it's doubtful that any of them sign here for the mid-level exception.  Plus, the better names are not going to sign a long term deal here with the looming lockout.

Within the next 2-3 years, the Celtics will NEED to transition from KG, Pierce, Allen completely to Rondo and Perkins.  Building the foundation of your team's future with a top tier point guard and a solid, traditional big man is always a great place to start.  Perkins should be the big man the Celtics target at the five spot, but his name has surfaced in off-season trade rumors for two consecutive years now.  That probably has more to do with the fact that he (and his cap-friendly contract) are the only realistic asset they have (Rondo is not going anywhere unless the Hornets offer Chris Paul and some sort of package).

Ainge made a shrewd move when he extended Perkins the first time.  His knee injury puts his trade value at an all-time low right now and unless Dr. Brian McKeon, Ed Lacerte and Ainge think Perk's knee injury will transform him into Acie Earl, then they should extend him.

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  • thetitleisours

    That is a tough injury to overcome. We need a backup plan. Not sure Erden is it.
    So what is our center rotation until Perk comes back?
    JO, and Erden are it right now. Do not want KG taking that third spot.
    Art? Sheldon? Why not Nick Fazekas from last year as well. No D but can rebound and score.
    We are talking Spots 12-15 anyway that need to be cheap. It IS getting desparate. Maybe we should have rolled the dice on one of the bigs like Alabi

  • Antoinew8

    Are you crazy!
    You never can resign a big man during an injury. No one ever has. A team may want to but the player, or at least his agent, always says to wait until he’s healed so he can show he’s still worth the big bucks(See Leon Powe) Unless Perks injury lingers on late into the season, there’s no way he would, or should sign a cheap contract if Danny offers it.
    Plus, if you’re using Perk as one of our rebuilding cornerstones to transition from Ray, Paul and KG, then i’m afraid we will soon be back to the 27-55 records of the old days.
    Perk is a VERY solid center, but many Celtics fans overrate him. I mean, yes, he can guard Dwight Howard one on one, that is extremely important and GREAT! But he couldn’t outrebound even Ron Artest in the Finals. And so if our goal is champions of the WHOLE league, Perk should really be looked at realistically as a SOLID center option.
    And as for all these people poo-pooing the aquisition of Jermaine Oneal as a step down from Perk, they’re crazy too! Oneal’s a better offensive option by far than Perk! An equal if not better rebounder than Perk, even with his bad knees. And he can block shots just as good as Perk ever has. So he’s a step up people, if anything. Open your eyes. He’s what we thought we would be getting in Rasheed last year. A consistant post player who can rebound and play GREAT defense.
    And before you laugh at my use of the word consistant regarding Oneal, the only reason he struggled so badly in the postseason last year was that he was playing against one of the best defenses in the league! Now he doesn’t have to play against us so he’ll be fine. He averaged 13ppg, 7 rebs last year people. Did Perk?
    And while i’m ranting. . .
    The real player the C’s should be looking to get as a cornerstone piece to the future with Rondo is either Leandro Barbosa this year, or Caron Butler or Al Jefferson next offseason. With Caron taking Paul’s spot and Paul moving into ray’s roll of outside shooter, this team would be right on track for a few more years.

  • nick

    This team has gota take a chance here and there..BOTTOM LINE. Thats y Kwame coming in would be great..maybe he adopts the ubuntu attitude and becomes half of what he was thought of as being, if not you just cut him loose. The entire roster isn’t going to be compromised of old guys otherwise we r gona hit rock bottom 1 day. instead of brad millers and mike millers I’de prfer filling out the BACK end of the bench with Kwame and another possible project.

  • Saymirr

    I don’t think Perk’ and his agent would accept an extension right now, knowing that if (and that’s some pretty big “ifs”) he comes back healthy during the regular season, gets his spot back, repeats his performances from the last seasons and the C’s make a good playoff run, he’s gonna have plenty of offers and a much better deal in the end of the day