Rumor: Kemba Walker and Celtics heading for “breakup”


Although shifting Kemba Walker was completely going to be a risk to discover heading into this offseason, it seems that it’s not simply the Celtics trying to transfer on. Per Bleacher Report’s Farbod Esnaashari, sources have indicated that each Walker and the Celtics are more likely to transfer on from each other this offseason “in a mutual settlement between the events.”

That “mutual settlement” distinction, nevertheless, doesn’t precisely do the reported stress justice. In keeping with sources near the Celtics, Ainge sought to commerce Walker in a possible deal for Jrue Vacation — , a type of “nearly” trades we heard about each September. That, after all, didn’t occur, and whereas Vacation ended up with the Milwaukee Bucks, Walker ended up feeling slighted.

“A supply near Walker stated he was damage by Boston’s efforts to commerce him, which created a rift within the Walker-Ainge relationship,” Esnaashari wrote. Although he has an amazing relationship with each Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown — who further sources indicated wouldn’t be concerned within the Celtics’ offseason shakeup — Walker now not feels needed by the entrance workplace. Thus, he needs out.

One league govt informed Esnaashari that Walker isn’t the one participant to have had unfavorable emotions towards Ainge, citing distrust all through his 18 years within the crew’s entrance workplace. Up to now, gamers and their reps (or, in some instances, members of the family) have expressed comparable sentiments, pointing particularly to the group’s mishandling of Isaiah Thomas’s hip harm and departure after a deep, unlikely playoff run.

However the tales of Thomas and Walker are totally different completely. For one, Thomas’s contract was simply movable on the time of his commerce from Boston to Cleveland, and whereas the crew undoubtedly mishandled his harm therapy and prognosis, any govt would’ve made that commerce for Kyrie Irving 100 instances out of 100. Walker, in the meantime, has voluntarily labored by way of harm and is now rumored to have been floated in an offseason commerce, which is true of virtually 80 % of the league on a yearly foundation.

The most important caveat that differs these two conditions, although, is that Walker’s contract is as undesirable because it will get for a participant of his present caliber (and well being). In keeping with The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, a number of front-office sources throughout the NBA view Walker “as having unfavorable commerce worth… That seemingly means a commerce would price the Celtics further picks or property to dump, even when Walker is universally admired for his relentlessly constructive perspective and arduous work by way of harm.” He’ll make $36 million subsequent yr, and although his contract expires on the finish of the 2022-23 season, he has a participant possibility price $37.7 million that he may train through the season.

If it was nearly what Walker needs and never about how reasonable it’s that Boston can transfer him, or will need to given the truth that an inventory of commerce companions is probably not very lengthy for an getting old and hobbled level guard, a supply near his camp stated he needs a “successful state of affairs.” Esnaashari’s sources stated they count on that groups just like the New York Knicks might be a potential suitor ought to they should fill a veteran scoring level guard position. However they’ll seemingly need to kind out what to do with Derrick Rose, who will quickly be a free agent, and what their long-term plan with Immanuel Quickley and Frank Ntilikina entails.

The Knicks are an intriguing vacation spot, provided that they 1) have the cap house and skill to tackle Walker’s contract with out lacking out on different free brokers, and a pair of) want offensive assist and a veteran presence. The Knicks had been arguably the most well liked crew down the stretch of the common season this yr however flamed out as soon as the lights acquired brighter come playoff time. They had been disassembled by Trae Younger and the Atlanta Hawks, who defeated them of their first-round sequence, 4-1. Walker won’t be the reply on protection to counter an offensive risk like Younger, however his presence and expertise total might be of profit for younger items like Quickley, RJ Barrett, and even Julius Randle, who was as efficient within the playoffs as utilizing butter for sunscreen.

However for different groups to pursue Walker would require them to depart with property, and for the Celtics to discover a commerce companion keen to tackle a regressing participant on a awful contract is perhaps a idiot’s errand. Apparently, Walker hopes they will work out a option to make it work for his sake, not theirs.


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