DENVER -- A collection of news and notes before the Boston Celtics visited the Denver Nuggets Thursday night at the Pepsi Center, just hours after Boston made three moves at the NBA trade deadline while overhauling its roster for a late-season push:
Maybe it was simply the lack of bodies, but it was a very quiet Celtics' locker room before Thursday's game. Most of the veterans declined to talk with Delonte West handling the role of player spokesman of sorts on the heels of all the wheeling and dealing by Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
"At the end of the day, we're still professionals, this is part of the game," said West. "I'm eight years in, so I'm never really shocked by anything any more. It's part of the game. Of course it's sad to see a couple of our brothers go, but I think they'll be all right."
For now, the Celtics still seemed a bit shellshocked after a flurry of moves that saw Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson shipped to Oklahoma City in exchange for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, and a future first-round pick; Rookies Semih Erden and Luke Harangody dealt to Cleveland for a future second-round draft pick, and Marquis Daniels sent to Sacramento with cash considerations for a future protected second-round draft pick.
Even Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted the jury is initially out on the trades, but felt like they will pay dividends for Boston down the road.
"The bottom line is: We’ll see," said Rivers. "We think we did pretty well today... Whoever is the single best player in the trade, that's who you try to get. Whether that's Jeff Green or Perk, we don't know that. Krstic is a good piece for us as well. He spreads the floor, which I think is great for Rondo. Jeff Green spreads the floor, too...
"We needed to get that [small forward or power forward] swing guy. One of the things I was just saying is that this gives us the ability -- like the year we won it -- at times we can go small with Green at the 4 and Kevin at the 5, with Paul and Ray spreading the floor. We've been trying to get that lineup ever since [Jame] Posey left. You forget how many times we did that in the playoffs, which was every fourth quarter. We haven't been able to duplicate that and, in some ways, it's hurt Rondo."
Rivers admitted it was hard to part with Perkins, a player that he had been paired with during his entire Boston tenure. Asked if he had a chance to talk with Perkins before he left the team Thursday, Rivers said simply, "Perk and I had a great talk."
Rivers then picked up the phone and raved to Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks about the type of player he's getting in Perkins.
"I talked to Scotty for a long time today, that was his biggest concern: Losing two high character guys from his locker room," said Rivers. "I told him, with Perk, he's getting maybe the best one in the league."
Rivers indicated that once Shaquille O'Neal (inflamed right Achilles) is healthy enough to return to action, he will be the team's starting center and his play with the starting unit this season was a big reason Boston was able to make this deal.
"Shaq's a key component of this," said Rivers. "We need to get Shaq healthy and Shaq will be healthy. If Shaq plays great, this deal was actually really good for us. That's on Shaq. We have to get Shaq in great shape, get him ready, get him healthy. He's really going to be important for us in the playoffs."