Dwyane Casey doesn't like opponents coming into his Toronto Raptors locker room. He believes the locker room is more sanctuary than social club.
“You have to have some sanctity,” Casey said. “I have lot of friends in the NBA, but I don't like buddy buddy … the guy's trying to take your livelihood.”
But Casey doesn't have a rule against it. “I don't like it,” Casey said. “I don't know how you police it.”
Here's how you police it. Kendrick Perkins.
The Thunder's bad cop cleaned up the streets Thursday night, voicing his displeasure at Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah entering the Thunder locker room.
After a short but heated (at least on Perk's part) exchange, Noah left.
And the NBA rallied around Perkins.
Shaquille O'Neal, a noted Perkins critic, supported Perkins.
So did Shawn Marion, who likened opponents in the locker room to taking somebody into the bathroom with you.
Even Noah himself admitted he shouldn't have been there.
“It's no big deal,” Noah told Chicago media. “I shouldn't have been in that locker room in the first place. Just wanted to say hi to some loved ones, Thabo's family. That's it. It's not a big deal. Perk is an angry dude. It's all good."
Perkins stays lathered up a good part of the time, that's true. Which makes him an outlier in a league in which players frequently change teams (Sefolosha and Noah once were Chicago teammates) and play international ball together and train together in the offseason.
Heck, Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson famously exchanged a kiss before the NBA Finals in 1988. That was 26 seasons ago.
“The fraternization is a fine line in the NBA,” Casey said. “Guys are friends, guys are buddies. But the locker room is your home.”
Most Thunder players agreed. Russell Westbrook voiced support for Perkins on Thursday night. Kevin Durant did so Sunday.
“This is our office,” Westbrook said. “If you didn't play here, you shouldn't be here. That goes for anybody, regardless of who it is. I'm not going to bring (former UCLA teammate) Kevin Love in here. Just because he's my friend, doesn't mean I can bring him in here.”
Westbrook said he would make allowances for former Thunder players.
“Unless you played here and you've been a part of this group, I don't think you should be in the other team's locker room,” Durant said. “I wouldn't do that. That's just me. I don't know how the other guys feel, but I wouldn't do it … you don't just walk into somebody's house.”
Perhaps the conflict was cultural. Noah is the son of French tennis star Yannick Noah and lived in Paris from 1988 to 1998. Sefolosha is Swiss. Switzerland is the world capital of neutrality, and France has been capitulating for centuries.
“You have to understand … they're both from Europe,” said ESPN analyst and former San Antonio Spur Bruce Bowen. “The fact that they have a kinship, they have a brotherhood, that's all they're going off of. They don't quite view the game like we do as Americans.
“I would never go into another person's locker room, especially after a loss battling with them.”
Sefolosha conceded the difference could be cultural.
“Everybody's different,” Sefolosha said. “It's one of those things, I kind of understand and definitely respect his (Perkins') point of view.
“I've seen Jeff (Green, a former Thunder player) come back in the locker room and say hi to the guys. It was no big deal.
“But it's a point of view I respect. His (Perkins') way of doing things. I'm perfectly fine with that. No bad feelings toward it.”