The championship window is closing for the Boston Celtics. At the start of last season, they were too old to win a championship. Kevin Garnett’s knee was a concern and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen hadn’t gotten any younger. Somehow, they rode the senior citizen’s bus all the way to Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Celtics fans believe that had Kendrick Perkins played in Game 7, Boston would have won its second championship in three years. Instead, Perkins blew out his knee, the Celtics were forced to play without their best low-post defender, and the Lakers hoisted the trophy yet again. Boston’s center has since never been the same.
Perkins’ path to recovery took another hit last night when he tweaked his knee. Team doctors have indicated he could miss three games. If the injury is more serious than that, the Oklahoma City Thunder are willing to take the risk. They proved that when they agreed to ship Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic to Boston in exchange for Perkins and Nate Robinson.
Now, Celtics fans are left wondering why. Why would Danny Ainge trade away his best low-post defender — the player whose injury cost the C’s an NBA championship last season — for a player that will provide quality minutes off the bench? If Perkins is hurt and can’t help Boston win in 2011, the trade might actually make sense.
In a smaller move, the Celtics dealt big men Semih Erden and Luke Harangody to Cleveland for a second round pick. The most likely scenario is that Ainge will try to coax Rasheed Wallace out of retirement to join Shaq, Glen Davis, and Jermaine O’Neal (if he comes back) in the Celtics frontcourt. Is Wallace a better center than Perkins? Hardly, but if Ainge has reason to believe Perk will be injured off and on for the remainder of 2011, Rasheed might give Boston a better chance at winning a title.
By bringing Green aboard and making room for a big man like Wallace who could potentially help this season, Ainge has put the Celtics in a better position to win right now. Green also gives Boston another quality player alongside Rajon Rondo to rebuild with when the Big Three inevitably calls it quits — one without an already established injury history. That is, of course, assuming Perkins knee is a significant concern. If not, I think I speak for all of Celtics nation when I say, “what the hell was Danny Ainge thinking?”Google+