In a matter of hours, the rumors connecting Kemba Walker to the Boston Celtics went from simmering to on fire.

Shortly after Noon ET on Tuesday, the New York Times’ Marc Stein reported that Boston is a “stealth suitor” for the star point guard, who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent June 30. Roughly an hour after that, The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell reported the Celtics are “seriously interested” in Walker.

Stein took things a step further after that, reporting Boston and the Dallas Mavericks are the top dogs in the battle to lure Walker away from the Charlotte Hornets.

Adding Walker obviously would be huge for the Celtics, assuming they indeed lose Kyrie Irving once free agency opens. The 29-year-old averaged a career-high 25.6 points per game last season while tying a career high in rebounds (4.4) and posting the second-best assists per game of his career (5.9). He’s a 35.7 percent 3-point shooter over the course of his career.

For what it’s worth, Jayson Tatum might be Boston’s ace in the hole when it comes to recruiting Walker.

Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images