Extension Signed and Sealed, Perkins Looks To Deliver

WALTHAM - "This is a big day for us and a big day for Perk," said Danny Ainge, Executive Director of Basketball Operations.

Ainge and Kendrick Perkins held an informal press conference Tuesday at the Sports Authority Training Facility at HealthPoint in Waltham with members of the media to give their thoughts on the big man's new contract extension. Ainge believes that Perkins has already succeeded in surpassing the expectations that the team set for him when he first came into the league.

"He has proven that he is an NBA center," said Ainge. "We feel that he is just beginning. We think that he can really develop into a leader and he is well respected by his coaches and his teammates. We are very fortunate to have him under contract to the Celtics for the next five years."

"I'm just really happy to be a Celtic" were the first words out of Perkins' mouth, and he stated that his new contract is motivation for him to keep working to make sure that he earns that contract. "It is a lot of stress off of my shoulders because now I can just go out and play basketball."

One thing that Perkins has wanted to develop was being a more positive player toward his teammates and coaches. He also wants to step into the leadership role that Ainge mentioned.

"We have a young team with a lot of guys that look up to me, so I am going to try to be more positive," said Perkins.

The major thing that Perkins has set in his mind is doing what he can to get as many W's as possible for the men in Green this season.

"I didn't set any personal goals this season because I do not want to try to go out on the court and play for stats. I want to go out there and play for the win, just go out there and play basketball," Perkins said.

Perkins also put any doubts about his shoulder well behind him.

"I think it is fine but we are just going on the safe side. I was playing in a couple of scrimmages down in Houston but somebody went and told on me, so I couldn't hide it. I was down there and I got a phone call and they told me that I shouldn't be playing, to be on the safe side and follow the doctor's orders," said Perkins.

When asked who it was that was on the other line, Perkins stated that it was Ainge who was worried about his shoulder, so he stopped playing. Perkins still hasn't gone back to scrimmaging but he is doing everything that he can off of the court to ensure that his body is ready to handle the grind of the upcoming season. Ainge also stated that Perkins is completely able to play right now but that the team was taking extra precautionary measures to make sure that he doesn't aggravate it in any fashion.

"He's doing live contact drills one-on-one in the post and that kind of stuff. He's playing live basketball; he's just not playing in scrimmages where something inadvertent could happen." Ainge explained.

Both Ainge and Perkins confirmed that he would be ready to go for the start of training camp. Perkins is very excited about the prospects for the upcoming season. He pointed out the fact that the majority of the team is around the same age and that he looks forward to taking on a stronger leadership role for the upcoming season.

"There are a lot of great guys; Rondo, Sebastian, Gerald, Al...all the young guys, even to our vets," said Perkins. "We have good veterans, Theo, he's a great vet, Paul, Wally, Scal. We have got a great team, we have just got to join together as a family and make it work."

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