Kendrick Perkins was part of an emotional trade that sent him to the Thunder from the Boston Celtics for a deal that included Jeff Green heading to Boston. The trade reportedly left Kevin Durant in tears, as he was close with Green and that was his first real reminder that the NBA is a business. With that said, it allowed Perkins to be around KD & Russell Westbrook as they grew together into the superstars that they both now are. He had some interesting comments on their relationship during his appearance on “The Vertical Podcast”, mainly referring to how the two players never appreciated each other the way they should’ve and how they will regret it ten years from now.


Perkins made sure to be clear that their friendship off the court was never in question. Sure they may not have been super close in their personal lives but Perkins wanted listeners to understand what he was saying was strictly from a basketball and teammate standpoint.

I think to me, what happened was with Russ and KD, I think they never really valued one another other like they should have. And not saying that they didn’t value as didn’t like each other. What I’m talking is, I don’t think they ever realized and said – I don’t think Russ ever realized and said, “Hey, man, I got Kevin Durant on my side. We could take over this league.” And I never thought KD did the vice versa. He never said, “Hey, I got Russell Westbrook on my side.” You’ve got two of the top five players in the NBA on the same team, and I just think that they never valued each other.

And trust me – I’m telling you this right now – when they think about this 10 years later, they’re going regret that. They’re going to regret that they didn’t value each other the way that they should have. And I’m talking about both of them.

And I ain’t saying they didn’t like each other, because it wasn’t none of that. I mean, we all played cards. They laughed and joked. We all had conversation. We had a group text going about Redskins and Cowboys football, because it was all good.

Perkins then somewhat adjusted what he thought, saying Russ actually did value KD’s presence but maybe it was him that didn’t realize just how much of a star Russ was and is but “outside” forces would complicate things.

I think what it was was this. Let me correct that. I think what it was was this. Russ actually did value KD as being the player that he is. But what I had to explain – and I explained to KD – is that what you have to understand also about Russ is that Russ, at the time, he wasn’t getting the credit of being on the same level as KD. But he had the potential.

And like I was saying was, the whole thing was that, I thought out of all that, it never really came down to those two guys that got in the way of each other. It always was the outside that got in the way of both of them.

It was always the outside. It was always a controversy of whose team it was.

Why it just can’t be both of y’all’s team? How about Russ goes for 50 one night, you go for 60 the next night? How about it just be both of y’all’s team.

And the thing is is that, at the time, KD was already probably a two-time All-Star, the No. 1 draft pick while Russ, when I first got there was still kind of putting his name out there. And then all of a sudden, Russ caught up to KD, and they both was kind of on the same level as far as just being the elite icons of the league.

Perkins was very close with both guys and served as a mentor of sorts, despite not being much older than either of them. His opinion on this topic should be respected more than some beat reporters who follow the team, especially when he mentions they are both going to regret not sticking together more.

And I just think that they will have some type of regrets in the next 10 years or when they’re done about that they couldn’t handle it better when they was still together.

Not saying there was beef. I was talking about on the court.

Finally, Perkins addressed the way Durant left and acknowledged that KD should have shown more respect to Russell and even Nick Collison but also said he understood it, comparing the situation to what happened with DeAndre Jordan with the Clippers and Mavericks.

It’s cool that KD – you’re a man, you decide the decision that you want to make. But at the end of the day, there’s a way about how you go about it. And you don’t send Russ a text and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to the Warriors.’

No, you do like LeBron James did when he left Miami. He went down and he sat and had diner with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to tell the that he was leaving, that he was going to sign with Cleveland. That’s what you do. That’s what you do. That carries a long way. It don’t take you nothing to call Nick Collison and Russell Westbrook and go and sit down and have a conversation with them and say, “Guys, hey look, it’s been fun. I still love y’all like my brothers. But I’m going to Golden State.”

I think it’s more of his personality that it would have been hard for him actually look Russ and Nick in the eyes. Because if he would have sat down at a lunch table, I think it would have been the same thing that happened with DeAndre Jordan It’s easier to text and be done with it than actually sit down face-to-face and actually look your friend and your brother in the eyes that you done went to war with for six years. It’s a lot harder, and it make your decision a lot harder.

There will always be what ifs between Durant & Westbrook and fans alike. They were still in their prime together and seemed poised to be the only threat to teams like the Warriors & Cavs. There likely will be regret because they know they should have won at least one title together, especially this past season being up 3-1 over the Warriors before collapsing.

Not sure if trying to be better friends off the court would have changed anything but as far as basketball wise, we will find out this season how they play without each other and see if the move was right and if they should have did more to appreciate each other. As a huge fan of both players, I do sincerely hope they find a way to maintain a close friendship away from the game.

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