If you've been paying close attention, you might have noticed that Yahoo! Sports basketball writer Marc Spears buried a little nugget about the Celtics' Kendrick Perkins at the bottom of his latest piece Friday night. The Miami Heat, according to one Spears source, are expected to make a run at Perkins this summer in free agency.
It's bold. It's daring. It's flashy. To some, it's headline news.
It's also totally preposterous.
Perk signed a four-year, $16.2 million extension to his rookie-scale contract back in the fall of 2006. He's 26 years old, nearing his prime, and finishing out the eighth season of his career in the NBA, but he's still under team control at an affordable price. That will change this summer, when he hits the open market. When you're the starting center on a championship team, you don't play for mere pocket change forever.
But the Heat? Really?
There are two problems.
One's the obvious — money. The Heat shipped off $327 million last summer to bring in just three guys, and they'll be feeling the financial effects for a long, long time. Next season alone, the triumvirate of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will make nearly a combined $48 million. Between those three, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem, Pat Riley is pretty much certain to go over the cap.
The mid-level exception is a possibility, assuming it still exists once all the dust settles on this summer's labor negotiations. But the MLE is likely to be around $6 million, which is the kind of money that the Celtics pay for decent backups (Jermaine O'Neal, Rasheed Wallace, James Posey). Isn't Perkins worth more than that?
The other problem with Perkins to Miami is an even bigger one — Perk's a competitor. He's been beating up on these Heat superstars for years now, and the last thing he wants to do is join forces.
Since 2007 when the Celtics rose to power, Perkins has been the underrated driving force behind their deep playoff runs. His presence in the paint, blocking shots and deterring opposing star players from driving the lane to score, can turn the tide of a postseason game. It worked on Wade last spring; it worked on LeBron. If Bosh had even bothered to make the playoffs, he'd have been dead meat, too.
Perk has had a blast beating up on his Eastern Conference rivals over the years. He's reveled in it.
They always say that if you can't beat them, join them. But what if you can beat them?
Kendrick Perkins has, he is, and he'll continue to. Boston is where he belongs.
Do you see Kendrick Perkins as a Celtic long-term? Share your thoughts below.