Report: Celtics may trade Kemba; where could guard end up? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics' offseason of change may include trading Kemba Walker.
Walker and the Celtics are "likely" to part ways this season in a "mutual agreement between parties," Bleacher Report's Farbod Esnaashari reported Wednesday.
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Citing a source close to Walker, Esnaashari reported the veteran point guard was "hurt" by the Celtics' efforts to trade him. Per Esnaashari, then-president of basketball operations Danny Ainge attempted to trade Walker for Jrue Holiday last fall before he landed with the Milwaukee Bucks.
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Walker had an up-and-down 2020-21 campaign in Boston, missing the team's first 11 games and sitting out on the second night of back-to-backs while he managed a left knee injury that required a stem cell injection last summer.
The 31-year-old averaged 19.3 points per game on 42% shooting -- solid numbers for an NBA point guard but his lowest in each category since the 2014-15 season and not exactly worthy of the four-year, $141 million maximum contract he signed with the C's in 2019.
While a breakup makes sense for Walker and the Celtics, trading the veteran guard will be easier said than done for new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens. The Athletic's Jared Weiss recently suggested Walker could have "negative trade value," meaning Boston would have to part with additional draft picks or assets to convince a team to take on his contract.
But there are potential fits for Walker, who is seeking a "winning situation" as he enters his 11th season, per Esnaashari. The New York Knicks, for example, need point guard depth and have the cap space to absorb Walker's $36 million salary in 2021-22. The Bronx native admitted he seriously considered signing with the Knicks in 2019 before choosing the Celtics.
The Dallas Mavericks also could make a Walker trade work if they part with Kristaps Porzingis and his $31.6 million salary next season, while the Oklahoma City Thunder are flush with assets and could help facilitate a salary dump for Walker.
Stevens has a number of pressing issues to address in his new role, and it appears moving Walker could be near the top of that list.