The Cleveland Cavaliers are rumored to be looking at signing veteran center Kendrick Perkins, adding depth and leadership to a team hoping to make a long playoff run.
The 30-year-old Perkins is in the process of receiving a contract buyout from the Utah Jazz, meaning he will soon be a free agent. Perkins was involved in a trade deadline deal that sent him from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Jazz.
Though there are a handful of teams connected to Perkins, sources say the Cleveland Cavaliers have emerged as a likely frontrunner.
The feelings are apparently mutual. Sources close to Kendrick Perkins said that Cleveland is “an attractive destination” for him.
Kendrick Perkins could add a boost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The six-foot-10 center was strong at protecting the rim for the Thunder, helping lead the team to the Western Conference Finals three times in four years.
Though he has lost a step from his younger days, Perkins still has a lot to offer, noted Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski.
“Perkins’ talents have diminished in the past few years, but his toughness and leadership still makes him a valued presence in contending locker rooms,” he wrote. “Perkins has played 13 NBA seasons, including eight with the Boston Celtics and five with the Thunder.”
Perkins is at the end of a five-year contract, and most of his $9.6 million salary has already been paid.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to strengthen what has already become the hottest team in the league. Since LeBron James returned to action on January 13, the team has reeled off 15 victories while scoring 112 points per 100 possessions, both best in the league during that stretch.
During that time, LeBron has asserted himself as the leader of the Cavs.
“I’m the leader of this team and I set the tempo. I set the pace,” James told reporters following the win, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). “I set the aggressiveness and I just wanted the guys to follow me.”
But for all their might in the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers could still use a bit of help defensively. Though the team has been much better during its recent winning streak, there is still a need for a strong defender like Perkins, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer noted.
“I was stunned to see that Kendrick Perkins is only 30. It seems as if the 6-foot-10, 270-pound center has been around forever. He’s in his 11th season as he went straight from high school into the 2004 draft. Perkins was traded to Utah and likely to be cut by Jazz, as this is “buyout season” until March 1. Perkins is a bruising center who would add another defensive element that the Cavs want.”
If the rumors are true and the Cleveland Cavaliers do nab Kendrick Perkins, the deal might not go through for another several days. The Jazz are still finalizing his contract buyout.