Kendrick Perkins got banged up this past season. Perkins has now had to have two surgeries since the season ended, the most recent being on his left wrist to repair a torn ligament, the team announced today in a press release.
Perkins’ first surgery was to repair a partially torn right groin that he injured in Game 4 of the Thunder’s first round sweep of the Dallas Mavericks. The wrist injury occurred during the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs.
The more you hear about Perkins’ injuries, the more it hurts Thunder fans. Perkins hurt the team much more than he helped them during the final two series of the playoffs against the Spurs and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
The Thunder faced smaller, quicker lineups in those series and every minute Perkins was on the floor felt like survival mode for OKC. Even a healthy Perkins would have been ineffective against those teams and knowing that there was a legit reason to sit Perkins since he was injured this badly is hard to think about.
Perkins is set to make $7.8 million next season, $8.4 million in 2013-14 and $9.1 million in the final year of his contract in 2014-15. Perkins’ name has come up quite a bit with amnesty talks.
The Thunder will not amnesty Perkins this summer though because they simply can wait on this. The Thunder will be tight for cash while trying to keep James Harden and Serge Ibaka in the future and will need to clear as much cap as possible to do so. The Thunder can hang on to Perkins for next season and not have to worry about going into the luxury tax threshold even if they do extend Harden this summer.
Next summer if the Thunder are going “all-in” to keep Harden and Ibaka, and they probably will be, we can expect Perkins to get amnestied to free up more space for them.
It will be interesting to see if Perkins sees any decline in minutes this coming season in anticipation of the inevitable amnestying of him. The importance of players like rookie Perry Jones and Cole Aldrich developing will be even more important this coming season if the Thunder will part ways with Perkins.
While Perkins was not valuable against the Spurs or Heat, he still does hold plenty of value when playing a team like the Los Angeles Lakers who will be starting Andrew Bynum and maybe even Dwight Howard.
The Thunder have as good a chance as anyone to win the title next season and they will need a healthy Kendrick Perkins to make it to the NBA Finals. They just may be better off without him if they get there again.