Boston's Kendrick Perkins May Turn Down Team USA
"Right now, it's like 60 percent no,'' Perkins said in an interview with FanHouse before Tuesday's Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers at the TD Garden.
Perkins is one of 31 players who has been named to the Team USA roster, with 12 eventually being picked to play in the Aug. 28-Sept. 12 World Championships in Turkey. While Perkins has been regarded as a long shot for a spot in Turkey, his chances likely were enhanced after it became apparent Orlando star center Dwight Howard, one of the few other traditional low-post players on the roster, might not play.
But Perkins is worried about having too much wear and tear on his body after the Celtics, seeded No. 4 in East, have advanced to the Finals.
"Yeah it has,'' Perkins said of his feelings about playing for Team USA having changed since Boston made the Finals. "Just going deep into the playoffs and stuff like that. You never know how things will work out. I just know right after the season, if we go seven games, then it's June 20 (Game 7 would be June 17). Then they start practice July 16 (actually, July 19 in Las Vegas for Team USA). That's a quick turnaround. That's a lot of basketball. That's just something I've got to take into consideration.''
Perkins said he has been wavering about whether to play for Team USA.
"Yeah, in a way,'' Perkins said when asked if he's leaning toward bowing out. "But something in my back of my mind keeps telling me to do it. And something keeps telling me I'm a little tired. So I'm going to try to pick and choose.''
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo wants a three-year commitment from players who want to compete in the 2012 Olympics, although with some USA Basketball veterans and top stars he might be more flexible. But Perkins is well aware that, if he doesn't play this summer, it could hamper his chances for 2012 Olympic consideration.
"Obviously, it's an honor to be a part of,'' Perkins said of playing for Team USA. "But if I don't do it (this summer) and don't come back again (for the 2012 Olympics), I'll still all right. It don't matter. It's cool.''
Perkins, who averaged 10.1 points and 7.2 rebounds during the regular season, is one of just three true centers on USA Basketball's roster, joining Howard and New Jersey's Brook Lopez. Team USA, though, does have Toronto's Chris Bosh (for now, at least), Phoenix's Amar'e Stoudemire, Minnesota's Al Jefferson, Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, New York's David Lee and Minnesota's Kevin Love who could play center.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson