Perhaps the worst kept secret heading into the offseason is the feeling that the Celtics will look to trade Kemba Walker. That’s not necessarily meant as a knock on him. When he’s healthy he can be a game changing scorer. The problem is that health question. He says that he intends to play back-to-backs next season, but that might make the injury risk even greater.
As I’ve said before, he might be best suited for a 6th man role at this point in his career but allocating $36M for that role isn’t the best use of that cap space.
It is widely assumed that it would take attaching draft assets to convince someone to take him in a salary dump move, and that may end up being the play. In particular if the ownership group takes a hard line on paying too much tax. However, I’ve been trying to think of ways to flip him for 2 or 3 solid role players to surround Tatum and Brown with.
Most have already skipped this part to get to the trade ideas below and then to the comments to make fun of them and that’s cool. But my caveat here is that I don’t pretend to know other teams’ situations as well as I do the Celtics and I’m no NBA scout, so I’m not always sure if I have all these guys properly valuated. So caveat emptor and all that.
With no further ado, here are some trade ideas. Several of which I stole from other outlets or just off of twitter. But feel free to make fun of me anyway.
Kemba and a lottery protected future 1st rounder for Al Horford
I don’t know if OKC is still in asset collection mode or if they’ve finally reached their limit, but if they want a good mentor to SGA and a guy that can start getting them down the road to respectability and pick up another draft pick in the process, this is a route they could go.
The Celtics get back a steady hand who can still be a stretch big and direct the offense from the high post when necessary. He’s lost a few steps and isn’t the defender he once was, but he knows what he’s doing out there and can help in a smaller role. Plus his contract is smaller, a year shorter, and only partially guaranteed in 2022-23.
This one seems the most straight forward and simple so to me it seems the most realistic. Which of course means it won’t happen.
Kemba for Patrick Beverly, Luke Kennard, and Terrance Mann
To me this is your typical trade getting three quarters for a depreciated dollar. Beverly is a renowned defender and instigator. Kennard provides outside shooting, and Mann is worth a gamble for depth.
The Clippers have a shrinking window and may see Kemba as a missing piece that they don’t need every night but could push them over the top.
Kemba for Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams
One way to get rid of one bad contract is to swap it for 2 (smaller) bad contracts. In theory you could more easily find homes for the new bad contracts later. Or in this case, you could see if they can provide us solid minutes in smaller roles.
Not my favorite idea, but it is a good representation of the kinds of deals that might be available without giving up draft assets. Which brings us to...
Kemba and a first rounder for Christian Wood and Eric Gordon
Not sure if the Rockets are in the mood to trade Wood so soon after signing him, but they are in rebuild mode and getting picks is what rebuilding is all about. They might flip Kemba elsewhere next year if he proves himself healthy enough (ie. the Chris Paul plan).
Boston gets a promising big man and a veteran shooter.
Kemba for Terrence Ross and Gary Harris
Orlando might want a pick involved here and it might be worth it unless they are flipping Kemba to a 3rd team. For the Celtics Ross is a good scorer and Harris has defensive chops that could help in the right situation.
Kemba for Coby White, Tomas Satoransky, and Al-Farouq Aminu
The Bulls have shifted into win-now mode and might see Kemba as a valuable veteran scorer to add next to Zach Lavine and Nikola Vucevic. The Celtics get a flyer on a couple of young guards and a veteran wing.
How’d I do?
So that’s what I’ve come up with (or in some cases stole from the internet). What are your thoughts on these? If you don’t like them, feel free to share your own in the comments below.