The Cleveland Cavaliers will have a 15th man on their postseason roster, but if everything goes according to plan, Kendrick Perkins will be more coach-player than player-coach.
ESPN is reporting the Cavs will add Perkins on Wednesday, officially making the 33-year old eligible for postseason play. This will mark Perkins’ second stint with the Cavs as he was added to the roster in 2015 for his physical presence and enforcer style of play, a role that immediately endeared the veteran to Cavalier fans.
Perkins spent a chunk of this season in Canton playing with the G-Leauge’s Charge and was thought to be in the mix to be added as an assistant coach before the playoff. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Adrian Wojnarowski, the idea would be to have Perkins be more of a locker room presence than a player, serving as a veteran leader on a team that has added a host of young players who have very little (if any) playoff experience.
There’s a lasting image from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ playoff run of 2015. The Cavs’ swept their way through the Eastern Conference, and celebrated their trip to the NBA Finals with several bottles of champagne, shirtless in the team’s cold tub. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, and Iman Shumpert were recovering from their respective amounts of playing time as “Flick of Da Wrist” played in the background.
And then there was Perk, knees covered in ice, shoulders shrouded in a a towel, scowl as strong as ever, having played all of five minutes in the 118-88 win.
The Cavaliers will have a tougher road this season than they did in 2015. Depending on the fallout from the next two days, they will be either the third or fourth seed in the conference, their lowest rankings since James returned in July of 2014. Nevertheless, it’s the Cavs—not the Raptors, not the Sixers, and Not the Celtics—who have the best odds of winning the title among Eastern Conference teams.
In the event they attempt to recreate the cold tub celebration, they’ll only have two of the five men in the initial video. Who would’ve guessed it’d be James and Perk?