Marc Stein from the New York Times reported today that the Celtics were emerging as a “stealth suitor” for Kemba Walker. Hours later he would follow up on that report by saying both the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics have become frontrunners in trying to sign Kemba if he decides to leave Charlotte.
The Celtics are going to have many options this offseason. Between the number of players they can sign, or who they can target via trade, Danny Ainge will have a busy offseason ahead of him.
The reports of Kemba Walker being on Boston’s radar doesn’t surprise me. Let’s be honest, Charlotte can offer him A LOT of money. So much money that if he were to sign elsewhere, he’d be leaving around $80M on the table. Kemba Walker is 29. He’s been in his prime for a few years but still has the best ones ahead of him. His time to win is now. Charlotte has a whole lot of bad contracts, so many that they’re restricted with who they can put around Kemba.
Kemba potentially meeting with other teams doesn’t surprise me. Besides, he is a free agent. Why wouldn’t you want to see what your worth is around the league? Boston can offer Kemba Kyrie’s old job. Kyrie and Kemba are similar players with very similar play styles, but I think Kemba can take Kyrie’s old job and run with it.
Kemba Walker is a team-first player. Don’t let his 20 shots per game fool you. Who else is going to shoot on that Hornets team? Kemba Walker averaged nearly 26 points, 6 assists, and 4.4 rebounds in 35 minutes a game last season. He also played all 82 games and has only missed six total games over the previous four seasons.
Not only can Kemba stay on the floor, but he can get the Celtics a bucket whenever they need one. He’s averaged more than 20 points per game over his last four seasons, and has a career average of 19.8 points per game.
And I know what you’re thinking: Wouldn’t signing Kemba take away from the development of the young guys? I don’t believe that would be the case. Like I mentioned earlier, Kemba is a team-first kind of player. Yes, he took over 20 shots a game in Charlotte, but now that he has an actual team built to win around him, we’d see a new-and-improved Kemba Walker.
Jaylen and Jayson don’t need more than 20 shots a game to develop into the players we expect them to be. If anything, I think having an elite scorer next to them would help improve their development. The team wouldn’t be run by Kemba like it was run by Kyrie. Everybody would still get theirs, and if we’re lucky, we can have one of the best scorers in the league help us out with that.
As for his defense, I understand he’s not the best defender in the world. You know who else wasn’t a great defender? Kyrie Irving. He became a much better defender than he was in Cleveland after he came to Boston. I’m not saying Kyrie is a great defender, but we definitely saw improvement. Why wouldn’t the same happen to Kemba? If he’s committed to winning, and we surround him with defenders such as Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown, I think he’d be just fine.
There will be plenty of options for Boston this offseason, some cheaper than Kemba Walker. This is something to keep an eye on, but I wouldn’t get too excited yet. Kemba would leave behind a whole lot of money if he left Charlotte, and he has made it known he wants to go back there. There’s a high chance he does just that and signs a max deal with Charlotte.
But, things happen quickly in the NBA. One minute Kemba says he wants to stay in Charlotte, and the next he could be on his way to Boston. The NBA is weird like that.
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