Oh, how things changed within a year for Kemba Walker and the Celtics.
Midway through his first season in Boston, the star guard couldn’t stop talking about how much he loved playing for the Celtics. Well, between then and Friday’s trade that landed him with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Walker apparently became disenchanted with life as a Celtic.
But what happened?
The Athletic’s Jared Weiss on Saturday published a lengthy piece detailing dysfunction inside the Celtics locker room last season. He included multiple nuggets about Walker, including information about his iffy relationship with Brad Stevens.
And then there’s this excerpt:
Walker maintained his professionalism throughout the season but his health issues, the team’s poor performance and boos from TD Garden fans — something that particularly “pissed him off,” according to multiple sources — made him sour on his situation in Boston and had spoken privately about being willing to move to a new team. It had become clear he was not going to be in the team’s long-term plans.
Honestly, if Walker had that much of an issue with being booed, then it probably is for the best that he’s playing somewhere else. Obviously, up until Game 4 of Boston’s first-round playoff series with Brooklyn Nets, TD Garden wasn’t capable of hosting a raucous, sell-out crowd of Celtics fans, angry or otherwise.
Given the way the Celtics played last season, they likely dodged significant booing throughout the campaign.
That doesn’t mean booing is cool or that Walker and other players should just deal with it. Rather, it makes it easy to doubt how Walker would react in front of a Boston crowd at its largest and most hostile.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, Walker might not have been the only player from last season’s team no longer interested in playing for Boston.