BOSTON -- New Orleans Pelicans center Kendrick Perkins, with connections to both the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder, was bombarded with questions Wednesday about where Kevin Durant might play next season.
Perkins, one of the heroes from the Celtics' 2008 title squad, always draws a big media crowd when he comes back to Boston. Perkins' unvarnished opinions helped distinguish him on that veteran-filled championship team. Now a part-time player at age 31 and on his third team since departing, Perkins offered thoughts on Boston's latest young core, whether the Celtics would have won a title in 2010 if he hadn't been injured in Game 6, and his influence on Anthony Davis in New Orleans during a nine-minute chat with Boston reporters.
But with the Celtics hoping to be one of the teams making a pitch to Durant in free agency this summer, Perkins was peppered with questions about Oklahoma City's star forward.
Told that the Celtics likely will pursue Durant, Perkins replied, "Boston and everybody else, right?" Later he added, "As a friend, I try not to talk to him too much about free agency. I always try to just want to talk to him about things outside of basketball. We talk about personal life and stuff like that. And I know he’s getting this question every day on the hour and stuff like that, so I try not to bother him.
"But he did shoot some teams out there that he made me sign a confidentiality form that I couldn’t tell nobody. He’s got a few teams that he will be looking at.”
Perkins was asked if he'd be surprised if Durant considered Boston.
"You’re trying to get me to really answer the question," Perkins said. "I can’t answer that. I want to, but I can’t. I mean, I don’t know. I do know, but I don’t know."
Perkins stressed that Oklahoma City's playoff performance this year likely will dictate Durant's decision.
"[The Thunder] win it all, he can’t leave, in my opinion," Perkins said. "But if they don’t, it might be time for a change."
Pressed again if he would lobby for Boston if Durant asked about the team, Perkins quipped, "I would tell him to come wherever I’m at."
Perkins said that he talks to Durant at least once per week and maintains a great relationship. Perkins takes pride in having "raised" Durant a bit during his time in Oklahoma City.
And, while few familiar faces remain in Boston, Perkins likes what he sees out of these young Celtics. He showered former teammate Avery Bradley with praise, then called Jae Crowder "the heart and soul of this team." Perkins said Boston's defense reminds him "a little bit of the '08 team in that they don’t want to disappoint their teammates."
Asked about Boston overall, Perkins said, "They balling. They are a scary team to go against in the playoffs. You can feel they enjoy playing with each other. They play at a high level. They’ve got a lot of young talent. I watched when they beat Golden State and they were very impressive. I’ll tell you what, that Isaiah Thomas is playing at a high level right now."
Would the 2010 Celtics have won a second title had Perkins not been injured during Game 6 of the Finals against the Lakers?
"I don't know," Perkins said. "All I know is we had a 14-point lead going into the fourth quarter [of Game 7] and we should have won the game. I thought at that time, the Lakers' willpower got them through. Kobe had 16 rebounds, eight offensive or something crazy like that. They only shot under 40 percent from the field, so defense wasn't the problem. It was just who wanted it the most, and I thought they actually went and took it from us.”