Celtics president Danny Ainge said on WEEI he and coach Doc Rivers “agonized” over trading Kendrick Perkins.
Ainge is banking on the return of Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal to the lineup and Jeff Green stabilizing the second unit for another championship run.
Ainge beleived Perkins was expendable because of his pending free agency and the expected return of the O’Neals.
“[Perkins] wasn’t interested in doing a contract extension,” Ainge said. “He wanted to test the market.” It was reported that the Perkins rejected a four-year $22 million offer from the team. Perkins was reportedly asking for $30 million over the same period.
“It’s tough to play the O’Neals and Perk at the same time,” Ainge said. “Shaq has proven to be better with our starters. We beat all of the top teams without Kendrick.”
Ainge said Jermaine “is coming along nicely” and Shaq should return in a week. “We feel good about our team.”
Ainge acknowledged the deal has brought some emotion from his players.
“In time they will see the benefits for our team,” he said.
What the Celtics are getting in Green is a versatile, experienced 24-year-old from Georgetown.
“He can play the four, three. He defends multiple positions. He can shoot the three-ball and post-up smaller guys,” Ainge said. “He has scoring, passing, intelligence, youth, energy all in one package.”
“We shed some tears today,” Ainge said after he told Perkins of his trade to Oklahoma City. “He’s a good kid and is going to a great situation.”
Today’s transactions left the Celtics with three open roster spots. Ainge said the team will aggressively fill those positions.
“We will be ready to pounce on players who will be bought out,” said Ainge, who is looking for help from outside and wing players, as well as a defender. He says guard is the least of his concerns.
“We may fill all three or just two depending on who we get,” Ainge said.