Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and David Aldridge were among the TNT analysts who discussed the Celtics-Thunder trade during the network’s pregame coverage Thursday night. The Thunder sent forward Jeff Green and center Nedad Krstic to the Thunder for center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robison.
Barkley: “I was very surprised but it’s a good trade for the Celtics considering they weren’t going to be able to re-sign (Perkins). They only need Perkins against the Lakers if they get to the finals. They are going to have a tougher time getting through Chicago (Bulls) and Miami (Heat). Perkins wouldn’t have been a big factor in (a Miami) series. They got the best deal they could out of their circumstances.”
Smith on the Celtics losing the mystique of being a tough team: “(Perkins) doesn’t help you get to a championship but he helps you win it. What the Boston Celtics had over everyone else was the mystique of toughness … They don’t have that anymore. That’s what the cache was that they were a great defensive team and you couldn’t get layups or get to the basket. They have just traded that (mystique) in and said, ‘We are a new team.’ To me, that is the difference and I don’t know if that’s great if you’re trying to win a championship.”
Barkley on the Thunder getting tougher at the trade deadline: “I love the toughness that (the Thunder) have now. I love the fact that they’ll be able to hit some guys in the head when they come down the lane. (Russell) Westbrook and (Kevin) Durant are going to score. Those guys will score in church, but they never get rebounds. Now they have some rebounding (ability) and some defensive toughness. This (trade) makes them a contender.”
Aldridge on the trade: “If you go back in time, (the Kendrick Perkins) trade is like Larry Nance going to Cleveland or Dennis Johnson going to Boston. Those ‘cement’ trades that make a good team a great team. I think Kendrick Perkins does that for the Oklahoma City Thunder. They were already good and they could’ve won a playoff series. What (Perkins) gives them in terms of defensive presence, toughness and championship experience; I think Oklahoma City is going to remember this day as the day they took a step up to be a true contender in the NBA.”