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Perkins agrees to extension with Thunder

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  March 1, 2011 10:25 AM

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Kendrick Perkins, the popular if limited center who was traded from the Celtics to the Oklahoma City Thunder last Thursday, has committed to the club with a long-term contract before playing his first game.

Perkins has agreed to terms on a contract extension with the Thunder, the team announced this morning. Reports say the contract was for four years and $34.8 million, a hefty sum more than the four-year, $22 million offer from the Celtics earlier this season.

Perkins, 26, would have been an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and teams such as the Heat or Knicks that lack a tough inside presence likely would have been interested, though the Heat in particular don't have much financial flexibility.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti says the team is happy to Perkins and his "blue-collar, team-first approach" as part of the Thunder's "core group" of players.

Presti indicated after acquiring Perkins that he planned to pursue him as a free agent.

Perkins has yet to make his debut with the Thunder after suffering a knee injury a week ago while playing for the Celtics against the Warriors. He is expected to miss 2 to 3 weeks.

The 6-foot-10 Perkins was the 27th overall pick in the 2003 draft. He recently returned from a knee injury he sustained in Game 6 of the NBA finals.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this update.

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