As you may have noticed, we’ve discussed a number of different Kemba Walker scenarios on this blog. Of course, one option is to keep him and hope he gets better with more rest and a more normal NBA schedule. However, the trade rumors and chatter isn’t going to go away, so we might as well take a serious look at legitimate ideas as they come up.
One such idea that has been making the rounds on the web is swapping Kemba for Kristaps Porzingis. Some oddsmakers are actually putting the Celtics as the favorites to land Porzingis if he gets moved.
The Mavericks played the Clippers tough for a seven games, but for the most part, Porzingis was schemed out of being an impact performer. Some of that is just bad matchup luck since the Clippers can go small better than most. However, some of it is that he hasn’t been the performer that the Mavericks were hoping for when they traded for him.
Cap-wise, Walker-for-Porzingis works in terms of salaries. You could even expand the trade to include pieces on either side if necessary. The Mavericks could sell themselves on the idea that Kemba Walker could fit alongside Luka Doncic better (reducing some of his usage rate might help him stay strong for four quarters). The Celtics could sell themselves on Kristaps being a floor spacing big that is younger (still just 25) and more long term potential upside. Both sides would have to sell themselves on “maybe he’ll be healthy for us.”
The biggest reason the Celtics might hesitate is the fact that Porzingis has a contract that is one year longer than Kemba. He’s younger but has a history of injuries that very well could keep cropping up year after year. However, beyond the contract and injury history, there are other concerns that Souichi Terada highlights on MassLive.
Then there’s fit and what Porzingis’ role could be on the Celtics. While the big man was billed to be a second superstar alongside Doncic — 1a and 1b — that hasn’t been the case. If Porzingis joins Boston, he’ll be even further down the depth chart behind the burgeoning stars in Brown and Tatum.
The Celtics also need some playmaking to ease the burden off their two All-Stars. Porzingis isn’t a solution in that department: The big man has never averaged more than two assists per game. Porzingis has shown an above-average shooting game (career 36.1% 3-point shooter), but there are some concerns of his rebounding ability.
So ultimately this doesn’t seem to be the right move for Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics. But it is an interesting enough scenario to think about.