The first team to move on out West, polishing off a 4-1 victory on Wednesday night, was the Oklahoma City Thunder.
You may remember these two teams as the participants in a very notable deadline deal two months ago. Something about a promising young lottery pick in one town and a beloved longtime center in another.
It's been two months since Jeff Green and Kendrick Perkins traded hands between Boston and OKC, along with sidekicks Nenad Krstic and Nate Robinson, in a controversial move that shook up the rotations of two serious NBA title contenders. Every day since, fans and media members alike have scrambled to draw their conclusions.
Who won the trade? Who lost it? How will this all shake up the championship picture this spring?
Everyone's looking for answers. But so far, we don't have many.
The panic level is high in Boston, where Green has been underwhelming so far in the playoffs and Krstic has done absolutely nothing. The postseason grind will only get tougher in the weeks ahead, and Perkins' role will only become more important. Late-spring games are won in the nitty-gritty categories — rebounds, second-chance points, points in the paint. This was the storyline last June when the Celtics lost the Finals to the Lakers, and Perkins' absence in Game 7 only shed more light on the C's deficiencies down low.
But through one round of the playoffs, we haven't learned much. The Celtics got very little from their two ex-Thunder, but they also didn't need Perk. They coasted past the Knicks without any need for a deep bench or a strong post presence.
Likewise, the Thunder didn't benefit much from Perk's presence in their round one beating of the Nuggets. It didn't matter whether they had the big man, or whether Green and Krstic were still around — regardless, you saw five games of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant dominating with the ball in their hands. Perk played 25 minutes a night but was mostly an afterthought.
For the moment, both executives in charge of this deal can breathe easy. No one's under fire yet. Both Danny Ainge in Boston and Sam Presti down in Oklahoma have faced a lot of media scrutiny for this trade, but so far, they're both safe.
Going forward, this will be a story to follow. The first time Green has a big game, or Perk makes a big defensive play, or the Celtics' weakness up front is exposed, or maybe even little old Nate goes off for a 20-point night in a playoff game, one GM will have some explaining to do.
The jury's still out on the infamous "Perk trade." They may have months or even years of deliberation still to go.
What do you think of the Perk trade two months later? Share your thoughts below.
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