Trio 'Excited' to Join Thunder Family

Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City's man-mountain who will guard the paint with a nasty attitude and a scowl on his face, wants Thunder fans to know he’s really not a bad guy at all.

“I’m trying to show the guys in the locker room and everyone else around here that I’m not this mean guy that everybody thinks I am,” he said Saturday. “I won’t call myself a soft teddy bear, because it might mess up my image, but I really am a great guy.”

No one needed convincing as Perkins quickly won people over -- reporters, his new teammates and especially his new head coach.

“I’m very impressed,” Scott Brooks said of his new center. “I like guys that are serious about the game. I love toughness and I love guys that care about winning and losing and just talking with him briefly, you can tell, there’s one agenda and that is doing whatever it takes to help the team win.”

Perkins will be out for a few games with a sprained knee and that hurts him more than just physically.

“I wish I could,” he said when asked if he’d like to play against the Lakers on Sunday. He wants to show his new fans what he can do. And he wants to assure them he has no problem being in Oklahoma City. Perkins knew that people here had seen reports of his emotional goodbye to his Celtic teammates, so he addressed that issue first with the media.

“I’m excited about being here, honestly,” he said. “I was with that other organization for eight years and with guys that I shared a brotherhood with, but I feel very comfortable here, I’m very excited. You know I’m from a small town not too far from here, (Beaumont, Texas) so it relates to my time growing up. The guys here are great, the organization is great and it’s a great city, so that makes the transition easier. So I am excited about it.”

Perkins readily admits, though, as nice as he is off the court, he can be one mean dude on the hardwood.

“That’s how I feed my family, so that’s not gonna change,” he said. He admits he doesn’t like any of the opponents he goes up against.

“I pick something about them that I just don’t like; I know it’s petty, but it’s just me and it sticks with the me the whole day. So on game days, I may not like the way he walks on the court, so I just carry it over that way.”

Coming with him to Oklahoma City was an old teammate on the Celtics, point guard Nate Robinson.

“I’m happy to be here -- it’s like a college atmosphere over here,” he said with a big smile on his face. “I’m just ready to get things rolling.”

Robinson said he’s already familiar with his new teammates.

“I’ve been following these guys a lot, me and KD (Kevin Durant) have been friends for years," he said. "(Russell) Westbrook, Nick Collison, he’s always been cool to me, I’m just ready to get it going, ready to play some basketball.”

What will he bring to his new team?

“A lot of energy. Hard work. Hustle. I’m going to try to match the fans’ energy. Something I’m always going to do is play hard every night, whether it’s for five minutes or three seconds. Whenever my number’s called, I’ll be ready.”

As hard as Robinson works, he’s amazed at the work ethic of his buddy Perkins, especially during his rehab from off-season knee surgery.

“He grabbed me a couple times and we worked out in the pool and I told him, I'm not doing this no more; you got that on your own," Robinson said. "He was doing some major workouts in the pool. I think I almost drowned one time trying to swim like him.”

Like Perkins, Robinson is also excited about what lies ahead in Oklahoma City.

“It’s a new opportunity for us. We have a new home and we’re just going to go out and win as many games as we can.”

Center Nazr Mohammed is the “old man” of the bunch at 33. He’s a 13-year veteran of the NBA and won a Championship with the San Antonio Spurs.

“This is a great group of guys,” he said, “and I heard that even before I got here. Everybody said hi; we're still getting to know each other, but it was great.”

Mohammed and Robinson practiced with the team Saturday and will be available for the Lakers game Sunday. Mohammed’s former team, the Charlotte Bobcats, routed L.A. recently and has put together a string of wins against the purple and gold.

“Yeah, we played pretty well against them,” Mohammed admitted, “but it’s easy getting up for them.”

And he says it will be easy adjusting to his new team.

“This is a great team with great young stars. They’re hard workers, it’s a great organization -- it’s kind of like deja vu from when I joined the Spurs. I came in and played well and helped them win a championship and I hope to help this team similarly.

“I think I’m known as a hard worker throughout the league. A guy that plays defense and can hit an open shot, but the biggest thing is to kind of help these guys reach their full potential, set screens for KD and Russell and get some rebounds and play some defense.”