Kemba Walker’s time with the Celtics is over. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski, the Boston Celtics are trading Walker, plus the No. 16 overall pick in the 2021 draft and a 2025 second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In return, the Celtics are getting Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a 2023 second-round pick.
Walker, 31, came to the Celtics in 2019 by a sign-and-trade deal. Prior to that, he’d spent his entire career with the Charlotte Hornets (who were the Charlotte Bobcats when they drafted him 9th overall in 2011).
It took just two seasons for Boston’s experiment with Walker to end. At the start, the Celtics were a team looking toward the NBA Finals. Walker, a four-time All-Star, was supposed to help them get there, and they got close in 2019-2020 (they lost in the Eastern Conference Finals) despite his injury issues.
But things changed drastically after that. The Celtics were a mess in the most recent season, and Walker’s injuries continued to be a problem. They finished 36-36 and lost in the first round of the playoffs, with Walker missing the final two games of the series due to a bone bruise in his knee.
Longtime director of basketball operations Danny Ainge retired in early June, signaling a change in direction, but Walker and the Celtics may have been ready to end their relationship before then. According to Bleacher Report, a rift developed between Walker and the Celtics when Ainge tried to trade him for Jrue Holiday, and both parties were ready to walk away.
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