Perkins: 'This is Where I Want to Be'

It didn’t take long for Kendrick Perkins to decide Oklahoma City is the place he wants to be for several years. After being here for just three full days, he and the Thunder announced Tuesday morning the signing of a multi-year contract extension.

“We had a unique opportunity to enter into discussions with Kendrick to solidify his future with our organization," Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti said in a statement. “We are pleased to know that he will be part of our core group now and in the future. Kendrick’s blue-collar, team-first approach aligns with the vision we hold for building a sustainable team in the Oklahoma City community.”

You could almost see this coming. In fact, Perkins, who was eligible to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, dropped a pretty big hint during Saturday’s introductory news conference.

“I feel very comfortable here, I’m very excited. The guys here are great and the organization is great. I do want to be here, so hopefully we can work something out,” he said and then he admitted he’d been thinking about the Thunder for a while. “To be honest, I actually talked to my agent about Oklahoma City last year and I asked him, ‘Do you think they’d be interested because I feel like I could come in and help.’ ”

Tuesday afternoon, Perkins said the love he has been shown by both the organization and the fans was overwhelming.

“I felt the love as soon as I got off the plane. I felt chills on Sunday when I was introduced and when they came with the offer, it surprised me but it showed again how much I was wanted. I thought, why wait? This is where I want to be.”

Tom Thibodeau, Perkins’ former coach in Boston and now head coach of the Chicago Bulls, called Perkins, “the best low-post defender in the NBA,” a sentiment echoed by Lakers guard Kobe Bryant on Sunday.

It will still be a couple of weeks before Perkins makes his Thunder debut as he continues to recover from a sprained left knee. As for the other two newcomers -- center Nazr Mohammed and guard Nate Robinson -- they still are earning the Thunder sets and lthe tendencies of their new teammates. Head Coach Scott Brooks is also learning.

“I want to get to know them first. I want to have a relationship where I know who they are, how they think, their background, their families, I want to get to know them on a personal level,” Brooks said. “And then I tell them about what we do on the floor and how we want to present ourselves on the floor and off the floor. And then we get into the specifics, defensive coverages, the offensive sets, late-game situations, so it takes time to integrate all that in but we do it as quickly as we can because the schedule doesn’t wait for you.”

Now after participating in three practices, watching a game and with a shoot-around to come tomorrow before the game against Indiana later that night, Brooks said he feels Mohammed and Robinson are almost ready.

“I think they’ve picked up a lot the last three days and we’ll use shoot-around (Wednesday) for those guys more as a classroom to learn a few more things about how we do it,” Brooks said. “It’s one thing to say just go out and play basketball but it’s not that easy. The worst thing you want as a player is to go on the court and not be sure what to do.”

By tomorrow, that shouldn’t be a concern. The Thunder and Pacers will tip-off at 7 p.m. Wednesday inside the Oklahoma City Arena. You can see the game on Fox Sports Oklahoma and listen on the Thunder Radio Network.