Celtics Offseason

Why Kendrick Perkins isn't happy about the Grant Williams trade

"You need dogs in order to win a championship."

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Kendrick Perkins isn't a fan of how Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics have approached the offseason thus far.

The former C's big man ripped the organization after the Marcus Smart-Kristaps Porzingis trade, stating he didn't understand how Boston could part ways with the "heart and soul" of the team for a player of Porzingis' caliber. On Thursday, he took the Celtics to task again for trading Grant Williams to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for multiple second-round draft picks.

“Damn sure not feeling good after this one,” Perkins said on ESPN's “NBA Today”. “Here’s the thing, you need dogs in order to win a championship. And the Celtics this past offseason just got rid of two pit bulls that they had in the locker room in Marcus Smart and Grant Williams. You can’t replace that. I don’t care about guys that play hard. That’s one thing. But when you play hard and play with tenacity, the noise talking, the getting into your face, not being afraid to ruffle the feathers, you cannot replace that. And there’s no team in the history of sports that hasn’t had those dogs on their roster in order for them to compete to win a championship.

“I don’t know if the Celtics have something coming down the pipeline or if Brad Stevens and Austin Ainge is working in that front office. But right now, I am not happy again for the second or third week in a row. I’m not happy with the moves and what’s happening down in Beantown. I'm not pleased."

The Smart-Porzingis trade was a polarizing one, just as Smart was a polarizing player throughout his nine seasons in Boston. The 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year was beloved for his hustle but often criticized for his inconsistency. Nonetheless, Perkins' point is valid. Smart was the vocal leader in Boston's locker room and Porzingis has had his own issues with injuries and inconsistency during his time in New York, Dallas, and Washington.

As for the Williams trade, the Celtics moving on from the 24-year-old had more to do with the organization's financial situation. By moving Williams, they managed to receive compensation for the restricted free agent and not have to take back salary that would have put them far into the luxury tax. A sign-and-trade (four years, $54 million for Williams) seemed like a foregone conclusion after the Celtics acquired Porzingis, who's owed $36 million next season.

Both Smart and Williams have played key roles for Boston over the last few years. They've helped to form the team's defensive identity while bringing an element of toughness that surely will be missed next season. Time will tell how the moves will impact the Celtics on the court, but it's still too soon to judge the roster Stevens has constructed this summer. With a wealth of assets at his disposal, the C's president could still have an ace up his sleeve.

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