Boston Celtics Notes: Kendrick Perkins Discusses Return, Free Agency

BOSTON - NOVEMBER 24: Kendrick Perkins #43 of the Boston Celtics addresses the fans before the game against the New Jersey Nets on November 24 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Kendrick Perkins on return, free agency, and title chances

Kendrick Perkins told Marc Spears he would likely return before the All-Star break. (Yahoo!)

Perkins says the best-case scenario has him returning in late January. He doesn’t expect to immediately start, but given his experience with the system and Shaq’s foul problems, he’ll probably win back the job at some point. Perkins says the Celtics aren’t pressuring him to return quicker with Garnett out after straining his right calf. Ainge thinks Garnett might even be back before the initial two-week diagnosis.

"I’m thinking right before the All-Star Break I will get a few games in, but maybe a little sooner than that," Perkins said. "Things are going well. I haven’t had any setbacks or anything like that."

After this season, Perk will be a free agent. Though he loves Boston, money could tempt him to leave for greener (pun intended) pastures.

"I will show that I’m back and there are no issues with my knee," said Perkins, who is making $4.4 million this season. "I will have a bright future as far as free agency. We will see how this season turns out and how it goes from there.

"I want to be with the Celtics, but I got to think about my future."

As for the present, Perk believes the Celtics look good. Very good.

"In seven games I don’t think we can be beat by any team," he said. "Too deep. Too much experience. Too many hard-working guys. Too many guys that have a chip on their shoulder."

Von Wafer could have six days left

Though playing well recently, Von Wafer could have only six days remaining as a Boston Celtic. (Boston Globe)

The Celtics have until next Monday to make a decision on the contract of reserve guard Von Wafer, and president Danny Ainge wouldn’t confirm last night that the team would retain the swingman.

Wafer signed a nonguaranteed contract in August that becomes guaranteed for the rest of the season if he is on the roster Jan. 10.

I'd be surprised if the Celtics don't pick up Wafer's option. Delonte West is out for awhile longer (Danny Ainge said after the All-Star break seems realistic), Marquis Daniels is always at risk of injury, and Wafer has used injuries as an opportunity to climb out of Doc Rivers' doghouse.

Not to mention my own doghouse. No longer do I cringe when Wafer enters the game, or shout obscenities at my TV screen. Wafer has now registered a positive plus/minus in six straight games, quite the feat for a player who's still struggling to shoot the rock and has never been known as a defender. 

How's Wafer improving? It's pretty simple, really -- he's buying in. (ESPN Boston)

"Well, we give him a lot of [grief] about it because -- and we still give him [grief] -- I think on media day he said, 'You know, I'm an offensive player,'" Rivers said with a smile, knowing full well that being an offensive player doesn't mean a thing on his squads. "That was his quote. But he's proven to us that he's more than that. I think a lot of players have that in them, they just don't know it sometimes. We're getting it out of him, and he's actually enjoying it. It's funny to watch him -- he gets excited about defensive stops now. And that's great, because I get excited about that as well."

"Everybody else [plays defense]," Wafer said. "I don't want to be the only guy who doesn't. I wouldn't be here if I didn't buy in."

While earning Doc's trust, Wafer has impressed some of his veteran teammates. Paul Pierce acknowledged Wafer's improvements, and Ray Allen seemed smitten by Wafer's talents. (CSNNE)

"I believe that he has the talent to do what I do out there on the floor," Allen told "He can shoot the ball, he can get to the hole, he’s got athletic ability. But at this stage, there’s a lot of guys that have that. He’s on the same team as I am, he has the ability to learn from me, from what I do on a daily basis. He has the ability to learn from Paul (Pierce).

"But the question is, does he want to learn? One. And two, mentally, can he stay with it to try to gain whatever expertise he needs to become one the best players in this league?"

Von Wafer, one of the best players in the league? Maybe if you believe in reincarnation. But Wafer does possess far more talent than your average 11th or 12th man. Just watch one of his drives to the hoop. He's strong, quick and powerful. He can blow right by you, or finish with contact. And, though his numbers don't say so, Wafer can also shoot the rock.

If he can continue learning the mental side of this game, Wafer will make some team very happy. At the very least, he's approaching this with the proper attitude.

Trade talk

Though Danny Ainge didn't discuss any specifics, he has received phone calls regarding trades. (Boston Globe)

"You never know what’s going to happen but I like our roster a lot,’’ he said. "There’s nothing close and I really like our team when we’re healthy. There’s always calls this time of year. There’s always teams trying to do things, but I like our guys. There’s a lot of talk out there but I’m not sure what we’ll do.’’

If the C's do make a move, expect it to be minor. The season is still young, but these Celtics have already proven themselves as one of the league's four or five true contenders.

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