Now that all the dust has settled on Doc Rivers moving from Boston to Los Angeles to coach the Clippers, it seems he may finally be comfortable discussing some things from his tenure in Boston that maybe he would not of said before. You can nitpick little things that happened while he was with the Celtics that maybe hurt their chances of winning at certain times, but according to Rivers, one specific move seemed to really set the Celtics back. Hit the jump for more.
Rivers said flat out this week that the trade that sent Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder in exchange for Jeff Green was a huge mistake. Many Celtics fans, and NBA fans in general thought that deal killed any chance of Boston winning another championship under Rivers and he agrees. When asked if he felt that trade cost Boston another championship he said:
“I think so, because we needed the toughness,” Rivers told attendees, via WEEI. “The one thing we did by losing Perk was, we removed Kevin’s protector. I didn’t think it was a coincidence that, after Perk left, that Kevin got into all those little flicks with the other teams. Perk deflected all that.”
I remember that day that trade happened, I was shocked. That trade really deflated both teams involved for a little while. Kevin Durant admitted to crying in the locker room when he heard about the trade because he, along with Russell Westbrook had grown very close to Jeff Green. The Celtics also felt like they lost a part of their family because Perkins was loved in Boston. People in Boston, including Rivers have so much respect and compassion for Jeff Green the way he battled back from Heart surgery that nobody wants to make it seem like they are talking bad about him, because it really isn’t about him. The truth however was that this trade did kill any chances Boston had to win another title. They had players comparable or better than Jeff Green. They had nobody to fill the big man/enforcer role that Perkins was. For the Thunder however, the trade in hindsight was needed. They had more then enough young talent. They needed a tough guy on the team who could play defense against other big men, and Perkins is just that!