Still looking at the void Perk left

More than 20 months later after the infamous trade that sent Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City we are still suffering the effects of a bold wrong move.

Before anyone goes to the stats and refers to Perk´s numbers (5.1 points, 5.0 rebounds this season) and explains to all of us how meaningless they are and how wrong the Thunder were in giving him a $8,300,531 salary for this season, let´s get this out first:

Kendrick Perkins is not about the stats. Neither is Kevin Garnett. If KG was still fighting for stats he would be averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds per game easily (remember also that KG rests for 20 minutes in every game).

The truth is that almost two years after the trade, we are lacking a presence in the paint, an enforcer, someone that takes some weight off KG's shoulders. We have tried with Shaq, Jermaine, Ryan Hollins, Greg Stiemsma, Darko Milicic, Chris Wilcox and Jason Collins. While Wilcox and Collins are trying to get adjusted to the Celtics schemes, it is clear they need someone else out there to get the job done. While more athletic than Perk, Wilcox is by no means an enforcer and of course he is not even a center in the full sense of the word. Collins is a genuine defensive center, very good on the one on one defense, but unfortunately he is limited and also ending his career. We need someone else.

Many fans are asking the Celtics to sign Kenyon Martin, currently a free agent. According to the Boston Globe, the Celtics do not know if bringing him would affect team chemistry:

The Celtics are going to be patient filling their roster because there is not a plethora of quality big men on the market to help immediately with rebounding. They are wary of the attitude and disposition of Kenyon Martin, who was not asked back to the Clippers because of his unhappiness with coach Vinny Del Negro. They may wait to see who’s available as of Jan. 5, when contracts become fully guaranteed for the season

Martin would be that needed enforcer, but the cost of it may alter the fine line of locker room chemistry this team is so worried about.

The fact is that Kendrick Perkins has been the perfect partner in the paint for Kevin Garnett since he arrived to the Celtics. None of the centers that have played alongside Kevin have accomplished the same level of efficiency than Perk. No one can deny that. Everybody knows the team got much softer after Perk's departure. Our new enforcer has been Rajon Rondo. When your point guard is your enforcer it means something is wrong, as Doc points out:

“I don’t know if I want to rally around my 6-foot guard being the enforcer. That’s nice but at the end of the day, if that’s the threat you’re sending, the other team has to feel [good].

According to some reports, even Rondo complained to Cedric Maxwell on WEEI about the fact that he needed to fill that role in the Celtics. Doc Rivers has labeled the team with the feared word "SOFT" recently, and calling out some of the players in our roster for the lack of toughness

Kevin, Paul [Pierce] and Rondo — and a couple of other guys — it’s almost like they understand the jersey they’re wearing, and the pride, and everyone else – not everyone – but it’s like they think because they put the jersey on they are something. You’ve got to earn it here.”

So here we are, still looking for a player that can add toughness, height, rebounding and intensity to our team without altering team chemistry. And the panorama out there concerning free agency is quite pessimistic. There has been talk of trading for Marcin Gortat or Anderson Varejao, but it will cost us some valuable assets. It may be worth the price, but I sometimes wonder if we could somehow revert the trade of February 2011.

I sometimes wonder if Danny Ainge would pull the trigger to bring back Kendrick Perkins to Boston. Would he be ubuntu enough to swallow his pride and admit he was wrong by trading back for Perk?

Hopefully, we will find toughness soon. Maybe there is no need for a trade or for a free agent signing. But in the meantime, I will just dwell for some more minutes on the ironies of destiny:

We had exactly what we now need: Kendrick Perkins.