Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Kendrick Perkins is signing with the Canton Charge (the Cleveland Cavaliers’ G League affiliate) for the 2017-2018 season. Perkins is a 13-year NBA veteran, and one of the most respected players in the NBA. He was the starting center for the Boston Celtics’ championship-winning team in 2008, and was a starter for the great Thunder teams of the early 2010’s as well.
Nobody would ever confuse Perkins for a true NBA star, but he’s a legitimately big name, someone who everyone who has followed the NBA over the past decade knows. His signing in the G League rather than retiring or moving to coaching is another sign of the league’s growing reputation as the best place for players to make a re-entry into the NBA. Perkins isn’t young anymore, but he still wants to play in the NBA, and he has decided that the G League is the path that is most likely to return him there.
Perkins played with the Cavaliers in the 2015-2016 season briefly, and was just in camp with the Cavs. He is therefore familiar with the Cavs’ system, and will be a great veteran mentor for the young guys on the Charge. Perk knows all the ins and outs of being a professional basketball player, and his experience is going to be invaluable in transitioning prospects into the rigors of professional life. His signing should help the Charge off the court and in the locker room.
The big question about Perkins is: does he have anything left in the tank basketball-wise? NBA teams must not have thought so, or he probably would have been signed by one of them over the summer or during training camp. Perkins last played in the NBA two seasons ago, and averaged a mere 14.6 minutes per game for an injury-stricken Pelicans team. The NBA has moved away from old-school big men—plodding types who hang around the basket on both ends. Perkins is the definition of that type of player, and has only gotten slower as he’s entered his 30s. He can deter some shots around the basket and commit hard fouls, but everything else is up in the air.
Hopefully Kendrick can revitalize his career for the Charge, and make his way back to the NBA at some point this season. If not, he will at least be a positive presence for the Charge, and a name-draw for their games. As the G League continues to develop and grow, more and more veteran NBA players like Perk who are hoping for a second chance in the NBA will probably turn to the G League as the means to accomplish their goals. The G League is truly on the rise.