Cleveland Cavaliers News: LeBron James Played Key Role In Team Landing Kendrick Perkins

The Cleveland Cavaliers just got even tougher on the interior, and LeBron James played a big part in it.

On Saturday, the team signed center Kendrick Perkins after he put the final touches on a contract buyout from the Utah Jazz, giving the Cavaliers an important boost to a rapidly improving defense.

Perkins had been sent to Utah in a three-team trade deadline deal, but never appeared in a game for the Jazz. Instead, he will be heading to Cleveland, with some big help from LeBron James. The Cavs star reportedly played a big role in recruiting Kendrick Perkins, who also had interest from a number of teams, including the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, and San Antonio Spurs.

There could be a good reason LeBron wanted Perkins to join the Cavs. James has said he wants the team to be more aggressive, and the physical Perkins would certainly fit the bill.

“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.”

Perkins is known for his physical defense, winning a title as a member of the Boston Celtics and helping the Oklahoma City Thunder reach three straight conference championships.

Though his stats have seen a bit of a decline, 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.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers will be getting Kendrick Perkins during their hottest stretch this season. Since January 13, the team has notched 15 wins, and during that time, has improved their defense tremendously.