After finalizing his buyout from the Utah Jazz, Kendrick Perkins will join the Cleveland Cavaliers through free agency, which means he’s going to team up with LeBron James, a player he’s had quite a few encounters with in the past, most of them verbal, or whatever you want to call a Twitter feud these days.
But these feuds are easily forgotten and washed away for the common goal, which is winning a championship with the Cavaliers. Perkins is an NBA champion himself from 2008 with the Celtics. He has also reached the finals twice more – in 2010 as the Celtics lost to the Lakers and in 2012, proving to be more harm than good for the Thunder as they lost to the Miami Heat in five games. Things haven’t gotten much better for Perkins even since.
The arrival of Perkins means more defense and size off the bench. The Cavaliers needed another useful big man to play behind Timofey Mozgov who has helped steady the ship and Kevin Love. Tristan Thompson has been, more or less, the only big man to have any use off the bench, and the Cavaliers have been quite short in terms of frontcourt personnel since Anderson Varejao sustained a season ending injury.
LeBron James, as always, was the one who recruited Perkins, who was also pursued by the Clippers, Bulls, Pelicans and Spurs. It seems that every free agent James has contact with ends up signing with the Cavaliers. LeBron James is probably still the best player in the league and has put himself back in the front of the MVP race, but his skills or influence as a player-general manager and his ability to draw useful players to the cause might be just as important.
Perkins isn’t someone who helps out with offense and numbers. He’s been dropped to the bench this season, starting only three times in 51 games for the Thunder, averaging four points and 5.5 rebounds on 19.2 minutes a night. Perkins is the kind of player that makes it a 4-on-5 situation for teams offensively on most possessions, but when used in the right lineups and for limited minutes he can be quite useful for a team trying to find the right formula to win a championship.