Kendrick Perkins sauntered over to the microphone mob Saturday and said, "Y'all waiting on me?"
Only about three years, big guy.
A franchise that started Johan Petro in its Oklahoma City debut has been waiting for an enforcer ever since.
And now that the wide-bodied, mean-faced, Gulf Coast-drawling Perkins finally is here, we get to wait some more.
A knee sprain will keep Perkins from playing today against the dastardly Lakers and for the next couple of weeks.
Uh, Kendrick, you sure you can't play? You sure you can't suit up and make life miserable for Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, then take a load off?
"I wish I could," Perkins said, and don't think he doesn't mean it. The Los Angeles Skyline is a bigger villain to Perkins than it is to Oklahoma City, and you know how the Lakers broke Thunder hearts last April.
Wait. Question withdrawn. Didn't mean it. Take your time, Perk. Don't hurry into the lineup. Get healthy for the long haul.
Perkins even used that term. Long haul. He meant the 2011 playoffs. But what about beyond? The Thunder traded for Perkins in hopes he'll be more than a rental. In hopes he'll put down roots and re-sign with OKC.
Everyone from Rumble to Charles Barkley has raved about Perkins' fit for the Thunder. Exactly what this franchise needs to go from cute little story to bona fide contender.
And the best news to hit OKC since the trade was announced at 2 p.m. Thursday is this: Perkins acknowledges the fit.
"I hope I can be here," Perkins said. "I want to be here."
So, Simon Scowl has good PR skills. What else is he supposed to say? But Perkins didn't have to volunteer this story.
"I actually talked to my agent about Oklahoma City last year," Perkins said. "I asked him, "Do you think they would be interested?' God works in mysterious ways."
He meant Jehovah God. Not Sam Presti. In fact, Perkins failed to remember Presti's name when reciting all the ways he felt welcome, finally just saying the general manager. So let's not pretend Perkins had a Thunder pennant in his old locker at Boston's TD Garden.
But let's also not worry that Perkins is still crying over leaving the Celtics, the only team for whom he's played since his high school days in Beaumont, Texas.
Perkins said he's now committed to Thunder blue. Said he tossed his Celtic green sneakers into the trash Saturday and wouldn't even accept a green medicine ball from a Thunder staffer.
"I couldn't find a better situation for myself," Perkins said of the Thunder. "Great organization. Hopefully, we can work something out. They are the first option."
That quote at least can warm your heart Sunday when Bynum and Gasol are dropping ball after ball into the basket.
Perkins told Boston media he recently turned down a four-year, $22-million contract extension offer from the Celtics, who were constrained by the payroll cap. He also told Boston media that a four-year offer in the neighborhood of $30 million would be a "big difference."
If that's the truth, I feel better. I think the Thunder can afford $7.5 million a year for a difference-making center, and pay no attention to Perkins' offensive numbers. A difference-maker is what he is.
Just not Sunday against the Lakers, against whom he's needed most. We'll have to wait a little longer.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.