Celtics and Kemba Walker Expected to part ways This offseason.
On Friday, this expectation was fulfilled.
according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, The Celtics are trading Walker to the Thunder in exchange for a package plan to return Al Horford to Boston after leaving the team for two seasons.
This move marked Brad Stevens’s first major move as Boston’s president of basketball operations.The transaction also happened eight days later Farbod Esnaashari from the stands The report stated that Walker and Boston “are likely to end their relationship this offseason in a mutual agreement between the two sides.”
The following are the details of the Celtics and Thunder exchange.
Kemba Walker deal details, rumors, news
Celtics get: Al Horford, Moses Brown, second-round pick in 2023
Thunder Receive: Kemba Walker, first-round pick in 2021 (16th overall), second-round pick in 2025
This is a far cry from the Jrue Holiday-centric plan that the Celtics reportedly tried to trade Walker last offseason. According to Esnaashari, those trading rumors during the 2020 offseason began to strain Walker’s relationship with Boston’s management.
A source close to Walker said that Boston’s attempt to trade him hurt him, which caused a rift in Walker.[Danny] Angie relationship.
Walker averaged 19.3 points and 36% from three-pointers last season, but missed 29 of the Celtics’ 72 games due to a knee injury.
Although Angie is not there, the two sides still think it is best to part ways. Therefore, the Celtics sent a former All-Star player Walker, including another former Celtics All-Star player Al Horford.
The 35-year-old Horford averaged 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists for the Thunder last season, but missed the game in the past 28 games because Oklahoma City hopes to keep them in the losing season. Of young talents have more playing time.
In fact, the Celtics decided that they would rather have the 35-year-old Horford and a $53.5 million contract than the 31-year-old Walker and his two-year contract with a remaining $73.6 million (assuming he chooses to increase his contract in 2022- 23 season with a player option of $37.6 million, he is likely to do so).
This move will open up some salary cap space for the Celtics, who have Walker’s luxury tax on the roster. Their salary promise is 134 million U.S. dollars, and the luxury tax threshold for next season is expected to be approximately 136 million U.S. dollars. So, from a monetary point of view, this makes sense.
However, from a court point of view, Horford is not more suitable for the Celtics’ young lineup than Walker. With Robert Williams, Tristan Thompson and Brown in the center position, it is difficult to see how Horford adapts. Maybe the team will trade Thompson, but this position is still a deadlock.
Therefore, it may be difficult for the veteran Horford to find a role in Boston. Throughout his career, he has always had injury issues, and has played 72 games or fewer in each of the past five seasons.
For the Celtics, the best part of this deal is that the 21-year-old Brown gets him at a low price after averaging 8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in his second NBA season. Brown scored 21 points and 23 rebounds against the Celtics in the 2020-21 season, so obviously Stevens likes what he sees is enough to make this move.
Nevertheless, this move does not help the Celtics much on the court-even if Walker’s injury problems still exist-this marks the third consecutive offseason that they will lose a maximum-paid player. For a team that should grow into a contender in the Eastern Conference, this is not a good idea.
For Thunder, the move is to reserve more assets. The team now has 18 first-round picks for the next seven seasons and five of the top 36 picks for the 2021 NBA Draft. In order to get this choice, they did not sacrifice too much.
Horford did not play the last 28 games for Oklahoma City this season because the team wanted to test their young talents. Horford’s agreement to sit down is mutual, and he understands that he will be moved during the offseason.
Therefore, the Thunder gave up a player who did not intend to stay with them in order to get a former All-Star player and first-round mid-draft pick. Overall it’s pretty good. Although Walker’s trade value has declined due to knee injuries that have restricted him from participating in 99 regular season games in the past two years, they can still find a taker for the 31-year-old in the trading market.
If they can do this, then they will continue to increase their large number of draft picks.