Making my way through the East Terminal at the Denver International Airport, I spotted recently traded Semih Erden sitting down, ready to order dinner. Semih may have been about to eat a steak, but he clearly wasn't ready to digest being traded from the Boston Celtics to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Semih seemed genuinely saddened by being dealt as I asked for his thoughts. Here's what he had to say:
Note: These aren't EXACT quotes but he did speak without the assistance of a translator and his English was relatively good.
Semih was very engaging but was clearly down and confused about being traded when I asked his thoughts, and if he understood why:
"It's tough, very tough but it is business, just business you know? I don't understand it no, but you know, it's just business I guess (as he said with a shrug)."
Perhaps now that he's on the Cavs, he will be getting more minutes to showcase his skills. He seemed to agree somewhat, but was satisfied with his role in Boston.
"Maybe you know, I can play more, show more of my skills and who knows, hopefully come back to Boston."
I asked him again if he wanted to return to the Celtics and if he enjoyed being a Celtic.
"Maybe, maybe… I would like that, I like playing for Boston so we'll see next year maybe I can come back to Boston."
I proceeded to ask him about Kendrick Perkins, and he leaned back quickly in his chair, raised his eyebrows and gave a deep breath, sighed and shook his head. He didn't really say much, but you could tell just by his reaction how Perk felt.
"He was very, very sad, very upset I felt very bad for him."
With that I wished him best of luck and success on his new team. He may have just been exhausted from traveling or whatever, but judging by his reactions, you could easily make the case for the "once a Celtic, always a Celtic" argument. Although he was only here for half of a season, the organization and city clearly made a positive impact on him. Who knows, maybe someday he'll get his wish and return to Boston.