The Boston Celtics just traded Kemba Walker for Al Horford, but their offseason is likely far from over.
It didn’t take long for Brad Stevens to make his mark as an executive. Just two weeks after Stevens replaced Danny Ainge, he reportedly traded Kemba Walker, No. 16 in the upcoming draft, and a second round in 2025 for the Oklahoma City Thunder for Al Horford, Moses Brown and a second. in 2023.
Walker’s time in Boston was running out. He was clearly unhappy after being on the trading block last offseason, and a disappointing 2020-21 season for Walker and the rest of the team sealed his fate. Stevens acted promptly, and both parties are likely better off for it, even though it cost the Celtics a good choice.
Speaking of picks, the Thunder once again revel in a desperate team. On the night of the 2020 Draft, they got a first-round pick for taking on Horford’s contract; seven months later, it is the first time that it is valid for someone else. Sam Presti now controls 18 first-round players in the next seven drafts.
The Celtics are not in a great place. Few teams have been effectively forced to trade someone on the wrong side of 30. This move puts them several million dollars under the luxury tax, but also leaves them without a starting point guard. And with Jayson Tatum’s extension beginning next year, the opportunities for big moves are diminishing. What’s next for the rookie executive as he tries to build a big list around Tatum and Jaylen Brown?
1. Compare prices to find a point guard
Each team could use another ball handler, but this Boston team would jump a level with a new floor general. In recent years, Boston improvised the offense with multiple spikes, rather than a fulcrum, and it produced good results. But those teams might also have the talent to pull it off; This list has one, maybe two more pins.
Bringing Horford back mitigates some of this. Even though his last two seasons were gruesome with the 76ers and a gap year with the Thunder, he definitely still has value as a playmaker and shooter at 5. Together, those attributes are a guard’s best friend, as Horford is. a threat. all kinds of things starting from a selection action.
But he is also 35 years old and two years of being a plus offensively. Those foundational skills should age well, but it would be irrational to expect it to be as effective as it was the last time you were in Beantown.
Acquiring that guy is its own challenge, especially now that they’ve burned out their next first round on the Walker trade. Unless Stevens wants to hang Marcus Smart, the bullets in his arsenal are business exceptions (most notably the $ 11 million, $ 6.9 million, $ 5 million, and $ 4.8 million exceptions) and youth (Aaron Nesmith , Payton Pritchard, Grant Williams and Robert Williams).
This latest Williams is a name to be reckoned with. His tenure in Boston has been sporadic at best and frustrating at worst. Stevens refused to play Timelord until it was the only card left on the table, and in the short stints Timelord got, he often made the most of them. 2021-22 is the last year of his rookie contract, there’s a new center in town, and the man who refused to call his number is now making the decisions with who stays and who goes.
Some names stand out, but agreeing to a sensible exchange for both parties is difficult. Would the Pelicans be okay if they didn’t get a guard in exchange for Lonzo Ball? How easy is it to get Ricky Rubio out of the Timberwolves? Are the Pacers willing to trade Malcolm Brogdon for a conference rival?
If the cost isn’t worth it, Stevens better wait until the next offseason (more on that on the next slide).