Morning sports update: Kendrick Perkins explained the backstory of the Paul Pierce-LeBron James feud

"They don't speak to each other, even now, today."

Paul Pierce and LeBron James in 2008.
Paul Pierce and LeBron James in 2008. –Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk

The Patriots made some news on Wednesday, signing second-round draft pick Kyle Dugger. New England also reportedly agreed to a contract extension with fellow safety Patrick Chung.

Kendrick Perkins on Paul Pierce-LeBron James: In a recent ESPN segment, former Celtic Paul Pierce ventured to explain why he had left LeBron James off of his list of the top five NBA players of all-time.

The decision drew widespread criticism, but as fellow former Celtic Kendrick Perkins later explained, Pierce’s controversial list requires full knowledge of historical context. According to Perkins, Pierce and James haven’t gotten along since they first met on a basketball court in a 2004 preseason matchup.

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“Paul is talking noise to the bench, right?” Perkins explained. “He’s talking big noise to the Cavs bench, and they’re sitting over there, Bron and them, they’re all sitting over there.”

“Paul actually spits over there at the bench,” Perkins recalled. “The ultimate disrespect.”

Pierce was later fined $15,000 for his actions, though as Perkins noted, it didn’t end there.

“It ended up turning up,” Perkins continued. “After the game, both teams were meeting in the back. Guys were ready to fight, we had to hold people back. It went up from there. Ever since that moment, LeBron James and Paul Pierce [hated] each other. They don’t speak to each other, even now, today.”

Perkins disagreed with Pierce’s assessment of James in his ranking.

“There’s no way in hell that you can say that LeBron James is not top five,” said Perkins. “You might not have him as your [greatest of all-time], but to say that he’s not top five, that’s just crazy.”

Perkins was drafted by the Celtics in 2003, and helped Boston (with Pierce) win a championship in 2008. He also played with James in 2015 with the Cavaliers, and was an assistant coach on the team in 2018.

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Trivia: What future Celtic was traded in the form of a 2006 1st round draft pick by the Lakers along with Rick Fox and Gary Payton to Boston for Chucky Atkins, Jumaine Jones and Chris Mihm on August 6, 2004?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: The pick was subsequently traded to the Hawks and then the Suns before the player was selected (and traded back to the Celtics).

More from Boston.com: 

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Fox on the track: A fox made a brief cameo on the Darlington Raceway Wednesday night after cars were sent into pit road during a rain delay.

On this day: In 1987, Larry Bird was one rebound away from a second straight triple-double (31 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds) as the Celtics defeated the Pistons 110-101 to win Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Classic rewind: When Bill Russell competed in high jump while in college.

Trivia answer: Rajon Rondo

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