Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers present a clinic in saying a lot without saying much at all. Here's Ainge, on WEEI's The Big Show today, making an argument about a legitimate argument that one could make that he most certainly is not making:
I would do it again I don't think that's the reason we lost. You can't say the trade was a success, but where we sit today, we're in a better position having done that. I know a lot of people will blame the Perkins trade for our lack of success. I'm OK with that. I take responsibility for that. There's a legitimate argument to be made. I don't buy into Perkins' screening ability or Rondo's struggles, but could he have helped our defense and help us get some more stops? There's a legitimate argument there to be made, but it's our offense that let us down pretty consistently and that was frustrating.
And here's Rivers, also on WEEI, delicately prancing around the question of timing. It was all about timing:
I would wait until after the year was over. I'll put it that way. I do think Jeff Green has a chance to be a starter for us in the future and a hell of a basketball player, and [Nenad] Krstic can help, but making that trade at the time we made that trade, that made it very tough for us. And not only that, we added other pieces as well that we tried to fit in, so it was just a lot of moving parts to a team that the advantage that we had was that we had continuity, everybody else was new. Chicago was new and the Heat were new. They couldn't fall back on what we could fall back on with our starting five, and once we made that trade, we took that advantage away.
Well, it was more not that the trust went away, the know-how went away, the continuity went away. That's what the trade affected more than anything. Obviously [Perkins] was great to our team and all of that, but it was more that you had new guys playing different positions and you had a floor guy who could literally reach back into a playbook and throw out something that was three or four years old and they all knew it, when Perk was there. When you lose Perk, you take that one guy out of that starting lineup. Now there's the fifth guy who doesn't know your offense three years ago. He only knows what he knows since he's been there, and that limited our group. With Rondo, because the way teams guard him, you need a massive playbook and that took more away from it than we thought.
Including, of course, Perkisabeast.com. But Perkins, as loved as he was in Boston, hasn't exactly been the difference maker in Oklahoma City: he's averaged 4.7 points and 6.5 boards in the playoffs, and as for his defensive prowess, Zach Randolph still averaged a double-double (22.9 points, 12.2 rebounds in the seven-game series). Still, there's no denying that Doc's idea of "chemistry" had an influence on the C's, especially when it came to having the so-called enforcer clogging up the lane against the Heat.