Kendrick Perkins took the court at TD Garden this morning for the first time since being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder last February. About 30 pounds lighter than his Celtics playing weight, Perkins took some jumpers with his teammates and then addressed the media, answering a variety of questions about his career in Boston, his relationship with Rajon Rondo and the Celtics after his departure.
“I hope I don’t get too emotional or nothing like that, I gotta at least try to keep a little scowl on my face,” said Perkins, who was acquired by the Celtics on draft night 2003 and played six-plus seasons in Boston. “It’s a pleasure being back, being back in the city.”
Perkins was called a “Celtic for life” Saturday by coach Doc Rivers, a testament to his closeness with his coach and teammates. Perkins was an extremely popular player during his time with the Celtics and his trade to Oklahoma City stunned and disappointed many of his former teammates.
“It means a lot,” he said. “When you win a championship with guys you kind of have a bond that nobody can break. For them just to embrace me still is an honor. I was laying in bed last night and I was watching TV and I seen (Rivers say that) and I had to catch myself. It’s kind of hard, you get emotional at times but at the same time you got to focus on coming in and playing basketball.
“You miss everybody around (here). It’s hard.”
When asked if he was looking forward to tonight, he said: “In a way I’ve been dreading it. After I got traded for some reason, it wasn’t like I had bad thought for (the Celtics). I didnt want them to struggle. I was still cheering them on. I found that strange because they traded me. But it’s the love I got for the whole organization.”