The Oklahoma City Thunder surprised everyone when they acquired Kendrick Perkins from the Boston Celtics at the NBA trade deadline on Thursday. Now, they have made it clear that Perkins will be a part of their future. The team announced it has signed Perkins to a contract extension that will keep Perkins with the team for the long term. Terms of the deal are not immediately known.
Perkins turned down a four-year, $22 million extension from the Celtics earlier this year. That may have been an impetus for the Celtics to deal him and Nate Robinson for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and a first-round pick right at the end of Thursday's trade deadline.
The Thunder were eligible to give Perkins a higher salary than that because of a little-known salary-cap quirk that allows teams with cap room to offer contract extensions before the player's existing deal expires. Because the Thunder created that cap room with its trade with the Celtics, they were immediately able to offer Perkins more money than the Celtics could. The Wizards used a similar provision to sign Andray Blatche to a five-year contract extension before the season even though Blatche's previous contract was not up until after the 2011/12 season.
The maximum that the Thunder could theoretically offer Perkins is $35 million over four years, according to salary-cap site Sham Sports. They had to do it by March 1; otherwise, Perkins would have become an unrestricted free agent. It appears the Thunder were able to get it done just before the deadline, though the exact terms are still unknown.
Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman was the first to report the news.