After two seasons, it looks like Kemba Walker’s time with the Celtics is coming to an end.
Farbod Esnaashari from Bleacher Report reports that Walker and Boston “will likely move forward with their relationship this offseason on a mutual agreement between the parties.”
The news of this possible separation comes just two years after Walker chose to join the Celtics in free agency. He came to the Celtics through a sign-and-trade that sent Terry Rozier to Walker’s old team, the Hornets, and was supposed to help Boston take the next step toward becoming a contender.
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However, things did not go according to plan.
Walker helped the Celtics reach Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2020 season. But his second season didn’t go so well. Walker missed 31 games, the most of his career, even during the playoffs, and averaged 19.3 points per game on 42 percent shooting in the regular season. Those were his lowest marks since his fourth season in 2014-15.
As Walker struggled, the Celtics did too. They couldn’t stay healthy as injuries and COVID devastated the team, and they finished the year with a 36-36 record as the seventh seed in the playoffs. After winning the NBA entry tournament, the Celtics lost their first series 4-1 to the Nets, a series during which Walker missed the last two games.
That caused major changes in your organization. General manager Danny Ainge retired and coach Brad Stevens took over the front office.
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Of course, one of those changes could have theoretically helped the relationship between Walker and Boston.
Apparently, Walker didn’t have the best bond with Ainge. Esnaashari reports that Ainge tried to trade Walker in a deal to hire Jrue Holiday, and after that, Walker’s relationship became strained.
A source close to Walker said he was hurt by Boston’s efforts to change him, which created a rift in the Walker-Ainge relationship.
So now, Walker will probably look for work elsewhere and the Celtics will try to trade him. Walker is scheduled to make $ 36 million next year with a player option of $ 37 million for 2022-23, so it won’t be easy to trade the veteran, but there will still be some teams in need of point guards interested in his services.
As for Walker, he just wants a situation where he has a chance to win. That’s what he came to do in Boston. It just didn’t happen.
Injury concerns may not make Walker the player he once was, but he will remain one of the biggest names in the commercial market this summer. So as the offseason progresses, Walker’s status will be worth seeing.