But which team(s) will be interested in dealing for the All-Star point guard, who was limited to 43 regular-season games during the 2020-21 NBA campaign while battling a knee injury?
A. Sherrod Blakely wrote over the weekend in his NBA notebook column for Boston Sports Journal that a league executive believes the New York Knicks are the most likely destination for Walker.
Here’s more from Blakely:
For starters, Walker has been on a Knicks target dating back to his days with the Charlotte Hornets. And when he signed with the Celtics, Walker later revealed that the Knicks were among the teams he had given “serious” consideration signing with prior to inking a four-year, $140.79 million deal with Boston.
And it makes sense when you consider the Knicks are a team on the rise having finished with the fourth-best record in the East this season with a relatively young core. Walker is also a native New Yorker and has had some of his most memorable games at Madison Square Garden when he starred at UConn.
Perhaps most importantly, the Knicks have the salary cap space to absorb Walker’s contract, which will pay him more than $73 million over the next two years. That financial flexibility inherently increases the likelihood of a trade, whereas another team facing a money crunch might need to get creative in order for a deal to become feasible.
Nevertheless, the Celtics first need to determine whether they want to trade Walker, who has had both highs and lows since signing a four-year contract to replace Kyrie Irving as Boston’s starting point guard. He’s a game-changer when fully healthy, but staying on the court has been an issue for the 31-year-old.
Walker, a four-time All-Star, is coming off a season in which averaged 19.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 31.8 minutes per game.