The Boston Celtics moved on from Kemba Walker this past week
In Brad Stevens' first move as President of Basketball Operations, Kemba Walker and a first-round draft pick were traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Celtics received (again) Al Horford and young Center Moses Brown. While it wasn't a surprising move by the Celtics, it was likely a necessary...and tough one. When healthy, Kemba is an exciting player to watch with a bevy of moves and the ability to pour it on any given night.
It Was Time
Unfortunately, 'Boston Kemba' was not the player NBA fans were accustomed to watching. Throughout his eight seasons in Charlotte, he missed only 35 games, but a nagging knee injury caused him to miss a whopping 45 in two seasons with the Celtics. For an undersized, high-use Point Guard who relies on his speed and agility to shake defenders, maybe this was inevitable.
Walker was owed roughly $73 million over the next two years but now with him departing, the Celtics are afforded a chunk of flexibility that gives them the ability to re-sign sharpshooter Evan Fournier. Fournier was a welcome addition to the roster and showed why he can be an effective scorer and playmaker.
Horford was possibly the best all-around player for the Celtics during his three-year stint with the C's. That's probably not the Big Al we will be seeing next season. On the surface, we're all thinking "why are we getting an old Center?" Well, look at the bright side; Robert Williams is showing signs of growth and Moses Brown looks like he could have some potential. Horford will be perfect in helping both of these guys take the next step.
It is worth pointing out that Horford played in only 28 games for OKC and averaged over 14 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 3.4 APG. He could still contribute most nights but his leadership and mentorship will be huge for the Celtics moving forward. Newcomer Brown averaged over 8 PPG and over 8 RPG in 43 games with the Thunder - a good base to build from. The C's got pounded down low and the added size and depth to the roster will surely help out as well as take a load off of young stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
More to Come
Next, the Celtics will have to fill that vacant Head Coaching spot. Expect more changes in the future as Stevens continues to retool this roster around his young core.