While they didn’t have nearly as disappointing a season as the Toronto Raptors, the Boston Celtics made some serious structural changes after their rough 2020-21. The conference’s No. 7 seed, Boston decided to promote Brad Stevens to a front-office role at the expense of Danny Ainge after Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker were swept by the Brooklyn Nets.
Walker has been the subject of the fanbase’s anger for two years, as he hasn’t been as productive as Kyrie Irving, who Walker signed a $141 million, four-year deal to replace. Boston appears to have finally had enough with the underperforming former Huskie, and Walker is similarly done with the Celtics.
Bleacher Report’s Farbod Esnaashari is reporting that both and Walker and the Celtics are looking to separate from each other, with Walker taking exception to Boston’s attempts to trade him earlier in the season.
If this is the end for Kemba in Boston, the Celtics will use one of two methods to get rid of him and his contract. Unfortunately for the Raptors, who could view Boston as the team they could most easily leapfrog in the Atlantic standings, the Celtics stand to benefit from going in either one of those directions.
The Toronto Raptors must be wary of a Kemba Walker trade.
Walker isn’t scoring as he did in Charlotte, but he was an All-Star last year, and scouting 19.3 points per game as a third option in Boston will keep interest in him high. He’s not a completely depreciated asset.
The first method of disposal is dumping his salary, perhaps with a draft pick included, on a team that needs to hit the salary floor. That maneuver would allow Stevens to go into the offseason with tons of cap space, one of the few teams who could have that distinction.
The other option is including him as a trade chip that could help them land a disgruntled star. If Brown comes back healthy and Tatum keeps getting better, a Big Three in Boston could end whatever thoughts Toronto had of jumping over them in the division.
While the Knicks might take a step backward next season, their oodles of cap space means that they will likely make one big addition in the offseason. With Brooklyn and Philadelphia miles clear of the rest of the conference, the Raptors need to make sure that Boston doesn’t start pulling away.
Toronto’s geography will be killer for the Raptors next season, as they are stuck in a division with four of the best seven teams in the conference. Walker might’ve been awful against the Nets in the postseason, but he could turn things around in a heartbeat, and that could pump his value up to the point that Boston moving off of him could set them up for success.