Since the moment the initial trade that brought Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Jeff Green went down, I’ve been calling for the removal of Perkins’ limited services as soon as humanly possible. I understand the guy is an NBA champion (2007-08 Boston Celtics) and the biggest physical enforcer the Thunder have, but parting ways with the 29-year-old big man is the only logical option for OKC.
Perkins has started every single game he has ever donned the Thunder jersey dating back to his arrival in 2011. In that time frame — 222 games — he’s failed to shoot over 50 percent from the field in any given season. His highest shooting percentage for the Thunder was 49.3 percent through 17 games in the 2010-11 season. His numbers progressively dipped each subsequent year. In comparison, Perkins only shot below the halfway mark twice in his eight-year stint with Boston, even reaching as high as 61.5 percent shooting in their championship season.
This past season was particularly despicable for Perkins. He shot only 41.5 percent from the field, ripping down a measly 4.9 rebounds per game and scoring 3.4 points per game. That is literally less than two made shots per game. Pathetic.
Perkins gets into more trouble than the Thunder need, too. Players don’t make their money by being tough; they earn it by making plays. When you’re tough, you’ll tell people. When you’re really tough, people will tell you. Perkins falls into the category of the former. He feels the needs to exert his physicality in situations that certainly don’t call for it. Averaging only 19 minutes per game, Perkins racked up 10 technical fouls throughout the season, down from 12 the year before. Although Kevin Durant‘s mouth and animation earned him a league leading 16 techs throughout the course of the season, you tend the forgive the man who scores 40 and brings in 12 rebounds for getting a little hot-headed. Perkins, on the other hand, gets no pass.
There are a multitude of options for OKC. They can simply wait out Perkins’ contract — it expires in 2015 — and pay him the $9 million he is schedule to earn this upcoming season and use him to unsuccessfully terrorize opposing bigs who are simply too skilled to be fazed by the childish mind games that Perkins hasn’t quite yet mastered. On the other hand, amnestying Perkins frees up significant cap space for another scorer — perhaps by the name of Ray Allen. If they had let go of Perkins earlier, Pau Gasol may have already had his welcoming press conference standing next to Sam Presti.
Unfortunately, the Thunder are still suck with a washed up, unproductive space waster who, at 6-foot-10, cannot score two baskets in one single game. The time to part ways has long passed.