Before Thursday’s NBA doubleheader, TNT’s studio crew of Ernie Johnson, Jr., Charles Barkley, Kevin McHale and Kenny “The Jet” Smith all discussed the Trade Deadline and the heavy activity that took place before the final whistle blew on all trades for the season. We have the situation and the press release right here.
TNT NBA Tip-off
Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kevin McHale and Kenny Smith with David Aldridge
Barkley on the Boston Celtics trading center Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder: “I was very surprised but it’s a good trade for the Celtics considering they weren’t going to be able to re-sign (Perkins). They only need Perkins against the Lakers if they get to the Finals. They are going to have a tougher time getting through Chicago (Bulls) and Miami (Heat). Perkins wouldn’t have been a big factor in (a Miami) series. They got the best deal they could out of their circumstances.”
Smith on the Celtics losing the mystique of being a tough team: “(Perkins) doesn’t help you get to a championship but he helps you win it. What the Boston Celtics had over everyone else was the mystique of toughness…They don’t have that anymore. That’s what the cache was that they were a great defensive team and you couldn’t get layups or get to the basket. They have just traded that (mystique) in and said, ‘we are a new team.’ To me, that is the difference and I don’t know if that’s great if you’re trying to win a championship.”
Barkley on the Thunder getting tougher at the trade deadline: “I love the toughness that (the Thunder) have now. I love the fact that they’ll be able to hit some guys in the head when they come down the lane. (Russell) Westbrook and (Kevin) Durant are going to score. Those guys will score in church but they never get rebounds. Now they have some rebounding (ability) and some defensive toughness. This (trade) makes them a contender.”
Smith on the New York Knicks acquiring Chauncey Billups from the Denver Nuggets: “Chauncey Billups is underrated in the trade but he is possibly the best fit for this trade. He doesn’t turn the basketball over and he will make sure that (Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire) get shots. He is deadly from three-point range and he’ll have license to shoot at any time.”
Barkley on the Knicks: “I’ll take my chances that (the Knicks) won’t win a playoff series (this season).”
Smith on the New Jersey Nets trading for point guard Deron Williams: “It was a great trade for the New Jersey Nets. (Williams) is what Amar’e Stoudemire is for the Knicks. If they start getting a style of play together than guys can say, ‘I can play with him.’ If they don’t create a style of play, they’ll still be in a hardship and Deron will leave (as a free agent).”
McHale on Deron Williams putting pressure on the Nets to win: “I think the best player in all of these trades is (Deron) Williams. I think that Williams is a better overall player than Carmelo Anthony. (Williams) did not commit to staying in New Jersey….so he’s putting pressure on them to bring in more pieces so they can win.”
Barkley on Mo Williams and Jamario Moon being traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers: “I’ve heard people say that Oklahoma City and the Knicks were the big winners (at the deadline)…the big winners are Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.”
McHale on how point guard Kirk Hinrich makes the Atlanta Hawks a better team: “Sometimes you just have to try to make your team better. (Kirk) Hinrich can defend point guards and can play some two (guard). He helps Atlanta get better because (Mike) Bibby had lost any ability to guard on the perimeter. It’s not like Kirk Hinrich is going to make them better than the Celtics but at least it gives them a chance…They are just trying to get better.”
Aldridge on Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose: “(Rose) is a young guy who still has great humility and people like playing with him. He was the most popular guy on the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. People like playing with a star and he’s a superstar without a superstar ego.”
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade on the Knicks acquiring Carmelo Anthony: “I love it. The Eastern Conference is getting very competitive. We play this game because we’re competitors. What New York has done by bringing in ‘Melo (Anthony) is great for the game of basketball and the city of New York. As a friend, I’m happy for ‘Melo. I’m sure he’s happy and his family is happy. (The Knicks) are better for the future so for a long time to come, they are going to be a rival for us and we look forward to that.”
Aldridge on the Thunder trading for Kendrick Perkins: “If you go back in time, (the Kendrick Perkins) trade is like Larry Nance going to Cleveland or Dennis Johnson going to Boston. Those ‘cement’ trades that make a good team a great team. I think Kendrick Perkins does that for the Oklahoma City Thunder. They were already good and they could’ve won a playoff series. What (Perkins) gives them in terms of defensive presence, toughness and championship experience; I think Oklahoma City is going to remember this day as the day they took a step up to be a true contender in the NBA.”
That will do it.