Scott Brooks on Friday night finally did what so many have seemed to want him to do for so long.
He benched Kendrick Perkins.
When the decision worked, and the Thunder went on to a series-clinching win in Game 6 over the Houston Rockets, those recognizable three syllables once again resurfaced.
The most steadfast critics of Perkins have no problem tossing around that word, which, really, is nothing more than a fancy way of saying a team is giving a player his walking papers.
All throughout last summer's uncertainty over whether James Harden would be re-signed, Perkins detractors felt the Thunder should amnesty its starting center. Removing his salary, they assumed, would enable the Thunder to keep Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant together. But when Harden was traded, many thought — and still think — Perkins' contract cost the team its one-time sensational sixth man.
To those critics, Game 6 against the Rockets served as proof that the Thunder is just fine without Perkins.
But now comes Round 2 and what is widely believed to be a heavyweight bout between the Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies.
It's a matchup made for Perkins, and one in which the Thunder will rely on its big man to make a big impact.
“This series was hard for him,” Brooks said of Perkins against the run-and-gun Rockets. “But his commitment to still cheer his teammates in the second half tells you what he's all about.
“Playing Memphis, he's going to get every minute that he deserves.”
That's probably for the best.
Perkins is among the best low-post defenders in basketball, and with the Grizzlies trotting out a terrific inside tandem of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, the Thunder now needs what Perkins does best to have any shot of surviving.
Gasol, the Grizzlies' starting center, averaged 14.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and two assists in three games this season against the Thunder.
Randolph, the bruising power forward, averaged 14.7 points and 16 rebounds against OKC.
Those numbers might seem massive, but think how much higher they'd be if Perkins wasn't around. The most tenured Thunder fans don't have to think long. The Jeff Green-Nenad Krstic days might still produce nightmares about the Thunder's interior defense.
Perkins' value in this series and against big men like the Grizzlies' duo is among the many reasons why it appears highly unlikely that the Thunder will ever amnesty its starting center.
“That gets thrown around a lot as an alternative. There are a couple of challenges with it,” said Tom Penn, an ESPN NBA analyst and former vice president of basketball operations for the Portland Trail Blazers. “The first one is you have to do it early.
“But the likelihood in a lot of these cases is a lot more slim because you're just giving up on paying talent to go somewhere else and play. A player like Kendrick Perkins, if they wanted to move him, as a dependable big with championship experience, I would think they could park him in someone else's cap room because someone would have a use for him.”
The reason the Thunder hasn't, and likely won't, is because it doesn't want to be that someone whenever a series like this second-round brawl rolls around.