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Thunder Want to Win Now, Add Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins in Blue, Jeff Green in Green.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics have confirmed a trade that includes three starters, according to reports.

The Thunder, who had reportedly participating in talks to acquire the Clippers’ Chris Kaman, among others, landed starting center Kendrick Perkins.

Also headed to Oklahoma City in the trade is guard Nate Robinson.

The trade will send starters Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green to the Celtics, who had originally selected Green fifth overall in the 2007 draft before a trade that sent Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, and Green to the Seattle Supersonics in exchange for Ray Allen and Glen Davis the same night.

Oklahoma City has also agreed to trade reserves D.J. White and Morris Peterson to Charlotte in exchange for the Bobcats’ Nazr Mohammed.

The Thunder had been seeking a big man to supplant their undersized frontcourt, and had also been linked to possible scenarios to acquire the Trailblazers’ Marcus Camby and Memphis’ Hasheem Thabeet.

The arrival of Perkins and his 7.3 points and 8.2 Rebounds, along with the departure of Krstic and Green, will likely translate to a starting lineup of Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, and Perkins.

Green, Krstic, and Perkins are all free agents at the end of the season. Robinson is in the first year of a two-year, $8 million dollar extension signed prior to this season.

The 33-year-old Mohammed is scheduled to make $6.5 million this season, and $6.9 million next season, the final year of his current deal.

Thunder GM Sam Presti would seem to have at least bent one of his own cardinal rules. Presti typically shies away from players with potential for injury, and the 6’10”, 280-pound Perkins has a recent history of missing time.

Perkins is recovering from a “minor sprain” in his knee, according to the Boston Globe, an injury that will sit him for a week.

Still, the move is the first deal since the franchise has moved to Oklahoma City that would suggest Presti believes the team can win in the present rather than the future.

Bringing Green into the fold provides the Celtics with a versatile player capable of playing both the three and the four, but Green will likely see most of his minutes playing behind starting small forward Paul Pierce.

The Celtics had been in the hunt for a player to fill in for the 33-year-old Pierce after previous backup Marquis Daniels was diagnosed with a potentially season-ending spinal injury.


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