The Boston Celtics could be a revolving door for star point guards in the coming weeks.
It’s become a near-certainty Kyrie Irving will sign elsewhere in free agency, with the Brooklyn Nets appearing to be the likeliest landing spot for the six-time All-Star. But according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein, the Celtics might be working on filling the void with a more-than-adequate replacement for Irving.
Within a free-agent pool that includes Irving, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker has become one of the more under-the-radar players who will be available on the open market. While Walker, obviously, will command a max contract in free agency, Boston soon could find itself with enough salary cap flexibility to legitimately pursue the UConn product. Irving’s and Al Horford’s expected departures both will free up some cash for the Celtics, who also made a financially conscious move on draft night by trading Aron Baynes. The C’s could continue this salary-shedding process by renouncing the rights to their other free agents, including Terry Rozier.
Boston likely will face stiff competition in the Walker sweepstakes, though. The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly shifted their attention to the 29-year-old after trading for Anthony Davis, and a return to Charlotte can’t be ruled out given Walker’s apparent willingness to take a hometown discount.
Should Danny Ainge pull off a Walker signing, however, it would be a tremendous get for the Celtics, who will be looking to form a new identity in the post-Irving era. Aside from a strong scoring touch, Walker brings an infectious energy to the court on a nightly basis and also would be a great addition to the locker room. His presence would help alleviate the pressure on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as the young swingmen continue to groom their games.
While signing Walker to a lucrative contract comes with risk, it’s probably one worth taking for the C’s.