BOSTON — Kendrick Perkins is past the days of being a significant contributor for an NBA team. But let’s just say he knows a guy.
Perkins, whose New Orleans Pelicans nearly upset the Celtics at TD Garden on Wednesday, spent eight seasons in Boston from 2003 to 2011, winning an NBA title in the process. He also spent five seasons on the Oklahoma City Thunder with Kevin Durant, whose name figures to dominate headlines when he becomes a free agent this offseason.
Perkins still keeps in touch with Durant and, this being Boston, quickly was asked about the Celtics potentially pursuing the perennial All-Star.
“Boston and everybody else, right?” Perkins said before Wednesday’s game. “But he never brought that up. I never, as a friend I try not to talk to him too much about free agency.
“… But he did shoot some teams out there that he made me sign a confidentiality form that I couldn’t tell nobody. He’s got a few teams that he will be looking at.”
Durant had some kind words for Boston when the Thunder visited in mid-March, leaving C’s fans to dream about KD wearing Celtic green. Of course, there’s still a chance Durant will re-sign with Oklahoma City, but Perkins believes his decision will come down to whether the Thunder can win a title this season.
“It’s a possibility,” Perkins said when asked if he thought Durant will leave OKC. “I think it all (depends) on what happens in these playoffs. They win it all, he can’t leave, in my opinion. But if they don’t, it might be time for a change. But you never know.”
So would Perkins be surprised if Durant considered joining Boston?
“You’re trying to get me to really answer the question,” he said. “I can’t answer that. I want to, but I can’t. I mean, I don’t know. I do know, but I don’t know.”
Let’s hit some other notes from Celtics-Pelicans:
— Evan Turner didn’t play Wednesday after suffering a nasty-looking eye injury Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. But he did provide a very humorous description of how it all went down.
“I don?t know anything about a scratch. I thought that bad boy came out,? Turner said. ?I didn?t know. All I saw was black. So, I was kind of freaking out. I thought of (the movie) ?Any Given Sunday,? when (a character’s) eye came out on the field. So I was saying, ?No, damn, if I can?t see out my left eye, that would (stink).? I?m glad it wasn?t as bad as I thought it would be.?
Turner said he plans to play Friday, although he might have to wear goggles as a precautionary measure. Not just any goggles, though.
“Not wear, like, the Kurt Rambis goggles,” he added, “But find MC Hammer type of glasses.”
— Apparently weird injuries come in pairs, as Marcus Smart also suffered an eye injury when he got smacked above his left eye with under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Smart was forced to leave the game after the cut started gushing blood and had to get four stitches above his eye. But head coach Brad Stevens said the second-year guard should be “fine.”
— Jae Crowder tallied 14 points in 34 minutes of game action. Yet the Celtics swingman, who logged his third game since sitting out nearly three weeks with a sprained ankle, admitted it’s been a bit of a struggle to find his legs again.
“I’m very fatigued and tired,” Crowder said. “I just have to take these next few games and try to push it, push it, push it. Try to get into the best shape I can going into the playoffs. I’m very fatigued.”
— Isaiah Thomas already is an All-Star, but the Celtics are making their push to get the 5-foot-9 point guard on the All-NBA team. The club supplied the media at TD Garden with flyers listing Thomas’ accomplishments, and Stevens gave him his own vote of confidence before the game.
“When you are looking at All-NBA guys, you are looking for 15 guys who most impacted their team’s success,” Stevens said. “It’s hard to argue with him.”
Thomas will have plenty of competition, as the league is loaded with dominant point guards. But he certainly didn’t hurt his chances with Wednesday’s 32-point outburst.
Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images