Pierce: C's are 'hurting to see Perk go'
February, 25, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
DENVER -- Celtics captain Paul Pierce expressed some still-raw emotion about the departure of Kendrick Perkins after Boston's 89-75 loss to the Nuggets Thursday night at the Pepsi Center.
Pierce didn't profess to have answers to all the questions, including whether the moves will make Boston a better team in the long run, but he did provide heartfelt and insightful responses during a brief postgame session with reporters.
"It's very emotional, especially for me," said Pierce. "I had a chance to see Perkins grow up from Day 1, fresh out of high school -- a high school kid coming in here, to see him get to the level that he got to on a championship team, so it's definitely emotional. I had a chance to talk to him this afternoon a little bit, but he was definitely hurt. The guys around this locker room are hurting to see Perk go."
By parting with Perkins, the Celtics were able to bring in swingman Jeff Green and center Nenad Krstic. Pierce, who was quite vocal this offseason about the need for another perimeter player behind him, stands to have his workload eased by Green, but the trade still left him uneasy because of the team's attachment with Perkins.
"You just hope [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] and Doc know what they're doing," said Pierce. "We put our trust in them, so it is what it is. We can't use any excuses and cry over spilled milk. So hopefully the guys we have coming in understand what we're trying to do around here, it's still a championship goal.
"But it's definitely a blow when you lose a guy like Perk. He's been in playoff battles, been tested, gives us size, and defense, especially when you're going against guys like [Orlando's] Dwight Howard, [Los Angeles Lakers'] Pau Gasol -- if we make it to the Finals and play the Lakers -- but hopefully we can make up for it in other ways."
Pressed on if he favored the moves, Pierce said it would take time to evaluate.
"I haven't had a chance to assess it," he said. "I hate to lose a teammate like Perkins. He meant so much and people don't understand what chemistry is, from the bus to the plane, in the locker room, so it's definitely a blow there. It depends on how the other guys make the adjustment.
"To me [chemistry is] everything. It doesn't matter what type of talent you bring in or what type of talent you have on your ball club. People underrate what chemistry brings. This is one of the tightest units, one of the most together teams that you could probably think of, especially because we've been together for so many years, it's just a number of things. Just how we roll on the plane, in the hotel, the camaraderie that we've been able to gather over the years, and when you lose that, it's tough. So hopefully we can integrate the guys that we've got coming in and they can pick up things pretty quickly, and make the adjustment [in] lifestyle to just how we are off the court."
With a new-look Nuggets squad as the backdrop Thursday, Pierce keenly pointed out how, even in an age where players can sometimes drive their own deals, others remain at the mercy of the general managers.
"It's a tough business, but you saw how the business works all in one week," said Pierce. "Everybody complains and talks about how [Carmelo Anthony] dictated what was going on with his situation, where in another situation a guy can't control what goes on, so it's both sides to the business. You can't be mad at either one of them and just understand, hey, that's the nature of the beast."