Back in 2010, the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to trade away Jeff Green to the Boston Celtics for defensive anchor Kendrick Perkins, a move that helped the Thunder eventually advance all the way to the NBA Finals before losing to the Miami Heat. The Thunder later signed Perkins to a four-year deal worth over $32 million in 2011 but that may be more than his production shows that he is worth, which could lead to his exit from the Thunder in the very near future.
While Perkins’ contributions on the basketball may not always show up in the box score, the Thunder should be expecting more than a mere 4.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in only 25 minutes per game from a starting center that makes an average of $8 million per season. Perkins also often finds himself on the bench late in games for the Thunder in favor of role player Nick Collison, who makes considerably less than Perkins — close to $14 million over the next two seasons to be exact.
The amount of money the Thunder committed to Perkins when they signed him in 2010 played a part in the team’s inability to extend and lead to the eventual trade of James Harden, who was seeking a max contract extension (that he later secured with the Houston Rockets). Trading Harden has worked out so far for the Thunder, but the effects of swapping Harden for a less dynamic Kevin Martin still has yet to be determined come playoff time.
The Thunder should seriously consider amnestying the remaining two years and $18.6 million of Perkins’ contract this summer and replacing him with a better, more productive big man. The Thunder could benefit from having a post player down low to compliment their perimeter scoring, especially in the Western Conference, meaning could possibly be Kendrick Perkins last season with the Thunder.