If you live under a rock, then you probably missed the latest report to come out that the Celtics are the front runners to land Kemba Walker.
“The Boston Celtics have emerged as the front-runner to sign guard Charlotte Hornets three-time All-Star guard Kemba Walker in free agency, league sources tell ESPN.
Walker’s eight-year career with the Hornets appears to be coming to close, with owner Michael Jordan no longer determined to extend far enough financially to re-sign his franchise player, league sources tell ESPN.
Walker is expected to be offered a four-year, $141 million contract to sign with the Celtics when free agency opens Sunday at 6 PM ET — a deal that he’s increasingly likely to accept, league sources said.
The Celtics have targeted Walker, 29, as the No. 1 priority in free agency, an elite level replacement for the departing Kyrie Irving, sources said. Walker had his best season as a pro, averaging 25.8 points and never missing a regular season game.”
Now the question has to be asked. Is this the right move for the Celtics? Time will tell. What I can say is this is a plan that makes the most sense. Kemba Walker has a chance to save the Celtics from what could have turned into a disastrous offseason.
Let’s get to the hardest question. How does Kemba fit into the Celtics cap situation? Bobby Marks broke this down very well.
Kemba is the most logical replacement for Kyrie Irving available. Case closed. Mike Conley cost two first round picks just to trade for, is two years older, and never made an All-Star team. A guy like Ricky Rubio is a complete liability on the offensive end. Players like Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas are flaw
The biggest concern with Walker is age and lack of winning pedigree in Charlotte. Walker, 29, may start to decline in the last year of a 4-year contract. However, Walker is currently in his prime and scored a career high 25.6 points per game in 2018-19. While the Hornets never won anything with Walker, their roster is horrendous. Nic Batum is making more than $25 million for next year. Bismack Biyombo is making $17 million per year. Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are also making big money. That’s an unwinnable circumstance. What I do know is Walker has the nuts necessary to thrive in crunch time. His run at UConn winning the Big East and NCAA tournament is one of the greatest runs in college basketball history. I think Walker is the type of player that would thrive in Boston.
Now we get to the actual fit in Boston. Walker’s shooting numbers aren’t great by any means but he was the only reliable scorer in Charlotte. Walker shot .434 percent and .356 percent from 3-point range. Is that who Walker is or was that just due to playing in Charlotte? Maybe it’s somewhere in the middle. What I do know is that Brad Stevens has made every single guard better. Go down the list: From Shelvin Mack, to Avery Bradley, to Isaiah Thomas, to Kyrie Irving. Every single one of them was statistically better than under Stevens. There’s no reason why Walker wouldn’t do the same. Walker thrived under Jim Calhoun’s system at UConn. Walker’s herky-jerky style should pair well with Stevens’ ability to get his point guard open looks off ball screens. The style pairing works well.
Walker gives the Celtics a guy who can run the offense. A world where Jayson Tatum goes iso ball for a vast majority of the time is a death star waiting to blow up in all of our faces in the worst way possible. An offense having Jaylen Brown slash to the basket and turn the ball over every other possession is a road that will make my eyes bleed. Walker is a true point guard that can facilitate the offense. This road makes the most sense.
Side note: The Boston media SUCKS
The only other option for the Celtics would be to go for a center such as Clint Capela, Steven Adams, or Nikola Vucevic. This would be an outcome that couldn’t have made less sense. Both Capela and Adams have big money contracts. Boston should command first round picks in order to take those back. Maxing out a center is a move a dinosaur makes. This is a guard and wing league. Centers don’t win anymore. The one’s that do can shoot. Vucevic has improved in that regard but is he really a player you want to max?
I went into this offseason believing the Celtics were screwed. Kemba Walker has made me a believer again. Will Walker make the Celtics title contenders again? Maybe or maybe not. What I do know is this plan makes the most sense. Danny Ainge got it right again. Get the deal done, Danny. Oh, also, can we stop this narrative that no All-Star level players want to play in Boston? Hmm.