After two seasons, it looks like Kemba Walker’s time with the Celtics is coming to an end.
Bleacher’s Farbod Esnaashari Report reports that Walker and Boston “are likely to end their relationship this offseason as part of a mutual agreement between the parties.”
News of the potential split comes just two years after Walker chose to join the Celtics in free agency. He came to the Celtics via a signing and trade that sent Terry Rozier to Walker’s former team, the Hornets, and was supposed to help Boston take the next step to becoming a contender.
However, things did not go as planned.
Walker helped the Celtics reach Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2020 season. But his second season didn’t go so well. Walker missed a career-high 31 games, including during the playoffs, and averaged 19.3 points per game with 42% shots in the regular season. These are his lowest scores since his fourth season in 2014-15.
As Walker struggled, so did the Celtics. They couldn’t stay healthy as injuries and COVID ravaged the team, and they finished the year 36-36 as the seventh seed in the playoffs. After winning the NBA play-in tournament, the Celtics lost their first series 4-1 to the Nets, a series in which Walker missed the last two games.
This resulted in major changes in their organization. General manager Danny Ainge has retired and coach Brad Stevens has taken over the front office position.
Of course, one of those changes could theoretically have helped Walker and Boston’s relationship.
Apparently, Walker didn’t have the best connection to Ainge. Esnaashari reports that Ainge tried to swap Walker as part of a deal to land Jrue Holiday, and after that, Walker’s relationship was strained.
A source close to Walker said he was hurt by Boston’s efforts to trade him, which created a rift in the Walker-Ainge relationship.
So now Walker will likely look for work elsewhere and the Celtics will try to trade him. Walker is set to make $ 36 million next year with a $ 37 million player option for 2022-23, so it won’t be easy to trade the veteran, but there will always be some pointy pointers. interested in its services.
As for Walker, he’ll just want a situation where he has a chance to win. That’s what he came to do in Boston. It just didn’t happen.
Injury issues may not make Walker the player he once was, but he will still be one of the biggest names in the trading market this summer. So, as the offseason progresses, Walker’s status will be worth watching.