Danny Ainge has no regrets about trading Kendrick Perkins in 2011.
Ainge, the Boston Celtics' general manager and president of basketball operations, made the revelation to the “Toucher & Rich” podcast on Boston's radio station 98.5 “The Sports Hub” on April 4 (via MassLive's John Karalis).
“I do not. Not at all. Perkins was hurt. People keep forgetting that. He wasn't healthy. He had a torn ACL. He wanted a contract extension. We were not gonna pay him the money just because of the payroll that we had.”
“And he ended up, after we traded him, he ended up getting surgery again. So he wasn't going to help us then. Nenad Kristic was actually better than Perkins at that moment in time because of his health and then he got hurt. And then Shaq didn't ever recover.”
Despite parting ways with Perkins, Ainge said he loves him, per the “Toucher & Rich” podcast.
I love Perk. I feel like I helped raise him as a kid. He was 18 years old when we got him and I'll always be a fan. But we just didn't have — we couldn't pay him going forward with the money that he wanted and probably he deserved.
Celtics fans love Perkins, too. He served as Kevin Garnett's enforcer when they were teammates. Their intimidating presence in the paint helped Boston secure its 17th NBA title – most in league history – in 2008.
The Celtics traded Perkins and guard Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green, center Nenad Kristic, a 2012 first-round draft pick (which later became the late Fab Melo), and cash considerations on February 24, 2011. The Thunder wanted a bruiser, so they got Perkins, per Karalis.
The 34-year-old Perkins played in 15 NBA seasons for the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
He averaged 5.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.0 assist in 782 career games.