Former president of basketball operations Danny Aingé started shopping Walker after the team was knocked out of the playoffs last summer, Mannix says. He says Ainge and the front office were skeptical about Walker’s future after a knee injury he suffered in January 2020 lingered over the summer reboot.
According to Mannix, the Celtics have spoken to “multiple teams” about a deal involving Walker, including a potential trade with the Spurs for Marcus Aldridge. The incentive for Boston was that Aldridge, now retired, had an expiring contract, while Walker owes nearly $ 74 million over the next two seasons.
Walker places a high priority on loyalty, Mannix adds, and was “frustrated” to learn he was involved in trade negotiations after choosing the Celtics in free agency in 2019.
Mannix’s report coincides with a story of Bleacher’s Farbod Esnaashari Report who claims there is a “mutual agreement” between Walker and the Celtics to seek an offseason trade. Esnaashari mentions the Knicks and Mavericks as teams with a potential cap to assimilate Walker’s $ 36 million salary for next year.
Walker, 31, is a four-time All-Star, but his production has declined in two injury-scarred seasons in Boston. He’s gone from 25.6 points per game in his final year at Charlotte to 20.4 last season and 19.3 this year. He shot 42% from the field and 36% from the three-point range, which was his worst numbers in six years.
A sore knee forced him to miss the start of the season, and he didn’t play his first game until mid-January. Walker has missed 29 games this season and only played 56 last year.