It’s hard not to think about amnestying Kendrick Perkins after watching what he did in the playoffs this year.
Perkins literally had the worst playoff performance in the history of the NBA, finishing with a PER of -0.7, the worst number of anyone in league history that played at least 200 minutes.
The Thunder need to get rid of Perkins or at least completely change his role with the team. Amnestying him sounds like the easy way to do this but it probably isn’t.
The Thunder would still have to pay Perkins $18 million over the next two seasons if they amnestied him. They wouldn’t be saving any money by dong so even if they dipped into the luxury tax a little bit next season.
The only way it seems then that the Thunder could get rid of Perkins’ contract would be to trade him. Let me tell you, it isn’t easy trying to find a potential suitor that would welcome Perkins to their team.
The Thunder would have to decide what they want out of a Perkins trade. The goal should be to get rid of his contract and bring back someone who is only on a one-year deal so that the cap space would be saved in 2014-15.
Here are a few players on one-year deals that match up with Perkins’ salary: Charlie Villanueva ($8.58 million), Rodney Stuckey ($8.5 million), Marcin Gortat ($7.73 million), Shawn Marion ($9.3 million).
There’s just not a lot out there and it’s hard to imagine the Pistons, Suns or Mavericks wanting to take Perkins on. The Thunder would really have to sweeten a deal for them by throwing in multiple draft picks and some combination of Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb or Perry Jones to even make this feasible. Now were getting to the point where the Thunder probably wouldn’t even want to do this.
Now, it’s still possible to have Perkins eliminated from the rotation. Just because they’re paying him, doesn’t mean he has to play. Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison can easily play a little more and the Thunder can commit more to small ball with Kevin Durant and Jones playing the four.
The Thunder also will have a lottery pick in the upcoming draft where they could go after a big man like Alex Len, Cody Zeller or Gorgui Dieng.
The problem is still that $9 million per year is a lot of money that could bring in one and maybe even two big pieces to help the Thunder make a run at a title. The Thunder would surely want to find a way to use that money instead of just wasting it on the bench in Perkins.
The other huge part of this situation is that as long as Perkins is on the roster, you know Scott Brooks is going to play him. You can’t blame Perkins for being a greta leader and likable to coaching staffs but Brooks needs to see beyond this and realize that Perkins is playing way too much and is killing this team at the end of the day.
The end of the season wasn’t exciting for Thunder fans but the offseason definitely will. There are a lot of things the Thunder can do before the start of next season. This is a franchise that has pulled the trigger on big moves in the past and one that I think understands the importance of putting a team on the court that can win.