He was no longer on the team, of course, but his absence was too obvious to ignore from the moment he was traded away by Danny Ainge in the final minutes before the NBA's trade deadline. There were statistical charts that probably said the Celtics were better without the offensively limited Perkins, but if you watch basketball with your eyes and not through a spreadsheet, you saw that the Celtics were never the same.
Rajon Rondo, the team's point guard and Perkins' closest friend in green, admitted as much this week.
Rondo told Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears that the Perkins trade affected the Celtics "more than it should have."
"It wasn’t like the man passed away or something," Rondo told Yahoo. "I think we put too much emphasis on it. It's a business. He got traded. He's very happy where he's at. We still talk and I'm always going to have his back. It shouldn’t have affected us the way it affected us."
The Celtics won 76 percent of their games (41-14) before trading Perkins, though the center was only active for 12 of those games, during which the Celtics went 8-4 while Perkins averaged 7.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game. After the trade, the Celtics went 15-12 the rest of the way in the regular season before a 5-4 showing in the postseason, ending with a five-game series loss to the eventual conference-champion Heat.