It’s safe to say that after two seasons, Kemba Walker’s stint with the Boston Celtics did not give ideal results. It’s an unfortunate situation, really. The Celtics both have Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on the rise as legitimate stars. They are surrounded by a group of veterans led by Walker. It seemed like the perfect formula for a title.
But for some reason things didn’t turn out. Walker has had his fair share of struggles and injuries. There may even be questions about its overall fit with the Celtics’ system. Note that Danny Ainge’s attempt to swap Walker for Jrue Holiday created a wedge between the two. As such, almost all analysts believe Walker’s days with the Celtics are numbered. The front office now headed by Brad Stevens needs to address the issue as we speak. While there are many possible teams the Celtics can engage with, here’s what we think works for both sides.
Damian Lillard’s massive four-year, $ 176 million contract extension will begin next season. He signed it in 2019. But a lot has changed since then. Amidst all of Lillard’s logo daggers and scoring blasts, the point is, the Blazers really haven’t won anything. Of course, they made the playoffs eight straight years. But the NBA has always been about winning. And the Trail Blazers have failed in this regard.
As such, all eyes are on Lillard if he pulls the trigger and asks for a trade. Obviously, a ton of teams would love the services of a player like Lillard. the New York Knicks, who will have ample room for caps as several of the guards will be excluded from the books, will likely be ahead of the race for Lillard.
However, Celtics fans know that management will not let this go. In addition, the Celtics remain an attractive team. In an imagined scenario, as proposed by Bleacher Report (via FanSided’s Mark Nilon), the Celtics can send Kemba Walker, Aaron Nesmith, Robert Williams III and a horde of future picks in exchange for Lillard. This seems like an attractive package for the Trail Blazers, who will likely enter rebuild mode once Lillard requests a trade. However, don’t be surprised if Jaylen Brown is inserted in the packaging. Walker is good and everything but the past two years have been horrible for the guard. The Blazers would like more assurance that they won’t end up as bottomfeeders once the trade is successful.
While the Lillard trade could burn a hole in the Celtics’ roster, the same is not true if they pursue Kristaps Porzingis from the The Dallas Mavericks. Both players are in the $ 30 million per year range. The Celtics and Trail Blazers may include more parts in the package if they deem it necessary. Aside from the financial issues, a Porzingis wearing the Celtics jersey and a Walker wearing the Mavs look perfect for the parties involved. Porzingis and Walker’s underperformance might just be a matter of fit (or lack thereof). Overall, both players are still well in their prime. Maybe a change of scenery is what they need.
Tatum has become one of the league’s top scorers. The defenses went to respect him by sending in double and triple teams. If Porzingis comes into the fold, he would probably knock down all those 3 points open all day. The Celtics are also expected to seek a new coach. He might have the perfect playbook for a Porzingis-Tatum tandem.