Veteran center Kendrick Perkins wants to play in the NBA again.
Perkins, who has been on the open market since the end of last year, told the Oklahoman that he is planning a comeback. The 32-year-old appeared in 37 games, including five starts, for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2015-16. He averaged 2.5 points and grabbed 3.5 rebounds, while shooting 53.3 percent in 14.6 minutes of action.
“I’m still trying to get back in,” Perkins said. “I’ve been working two-a-days over the last couple of months. Just been going hard. Got a couple of calls, just a few teams say they want to start trying me out and working me out before the free agency’s over with. So, just trying to get back in and see what it do. One more push.”
Perkins had been a serviceable center throughout his career before injuries took a huge toll on his body. He was selected with the No. 27 pick in the first round of the 2003 by the Memphis Grizzlies. The 6-foot-10, 270-pound center has played 781 career games, including 565 starts, over 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Pelicans.
Perkins is a physical banger who is a quality rebounder, screener, and rim protector. He is very limited offensively as he is mainly a back-to-the basket player, though he can occasionally hit 10- to 15-foot face-up jumpers.
What teams are interested in Perkins?
While Perkins said that he has received calls from teams, he did not specify who the teams were.
Golden State was the only team that showed any interest in Perkins this offseason, according to Rusty Simmons of the the San Francisco Chronicle. The center position is considered to be the Warriors biggest weakness. The Warriors do have a plethora of options at center with veterans Zaza Pachulia, David West, JaVale McGee, and rookie Damian Jones on the roster.
Pachulia, West, and McGee have all filled their roles nicely, while Jones will likely continue to see most of his action with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the D-League. However, Pachulia (shoulder) and West (thumb) are currently dealing with injuries.
Pachulia has done an excellent job rebounding, passing, and shooting the ball. The 33-year-old is shooting a career-best 52.7 percent from the floor.
McGee is having an excellent season. The 27-year-old, seven-footer is averaging 6.2 points and 3.0 rebounds, while shooting a career-best 67.8 percent from the field in less than 10 minutes of action.
All three of the Warriors’ centers have been effective defenders. Still, the Warriors rank just 27th in the league in second chance points allowed and 20th in opponents’ points in the paint.
Draymond Green, James Michael McAdoo, and Kevon Looney can also play the five in small ball situations.
Perkins would fit in nicely with the Warriors as a nice insurance policy for the team if Pachulia and/or West suffer another injury. Golden State does not have an open roster spot, though they could release guard Briante Weber, who they recently signed to a second 10-day contract. The Warriors will have to make a decision whether to keep Weber or release him once his second 10-day contract expires.
For his part, Perkins believes that the Thunder are the best fit for him.
“I feel like I fit here [OKC]. From me walking in the facility earlier (Wednesday), all the love and stuff that I got and then coming here tonight, and then after talking with Sam and Mr. Bennett, you just know that it’s genuine.”
Oklahoma City is in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. The Thunder (32-25) are currently in the seventh spot, though they are within three-and a-half games of the fourth place Los Angeles Clippers. Oklahoma City has lost six of its last 10 contests.
The Thunder are kind of short-handed in the frontcourt as a result of Enes Kanter breaking his forearm while punching a chair. Kanter is expected to be out at least until the beginning of March. Coach Billy Donovan has been rotating Steven Adams, rookie Domantas Sabonis, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Jerami Grant in the frontcourt since Kanter’s injury. Seldom used veteran Nick Collison is also on the roster.
Oklahoma City has 15 players on its roster. So, they will have to make a roster move in order to accommodate Perkins. Collison appears to be the candidate most likely to be released if the Thunder decides to make a move.
The Cavs, Miami Heat, and Houston Rockets may also be interested in Perkins.
[Featured Image by Kathy Willens/AP Images]