Most people thought Brad Stevens’ first move as the decision maker for the C’s would’ve been finding his successor. But that didn’t end up being the case as Boston has made a move to unload Kemba Walker.
It was reported early Friday morning by ESPN that Oklahoma City and the Celtics struck a deal seeing Kemba be shipped to the Thunder. Boston will receive former Celtic Al Horford and big man Moses Brown along with a 2023 second-round pick. The Thunder will be getting Walker along with the Celtic’s 2021 first-round selection (16) and a 2025 second-round selection.
The upheaval in management signaled things were going to begin to change in the New England area. The Celtics haven’t been happy with the way things have gone over the past couple of years. It seems like they’re looking to stabilize as they try to build around their two young stars.
First, it was the Kyrie experiment. It seemed the Duke product was going to be in Boston for a long time. That was before he decided to defect to a division opponent in the powerhouse Brooklyn Nets. After that came Kemba.
Signing Walker looked like a good move as he brought the same scoring punch Irving had without the drama. It became evident why Charlotte was unwilling to pay their franchise guard his asking price as Kemba couldn’t stay on the court long enough to make a big impact. Kemba average 19.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists during his two-season tenure with the Celtics.
Those were solid numbers as he acted as the third star behind the budding duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. It wasn’t quite enough, though. Walker’s porous defense to go along with a long list of injuries hampered the team’s ability to reach the pinnacle. Because of that, it was time to let go.
For Boston fans who didn’t watch much OKC basketball, this past season here is what you should expect from the return. The veteran big man is crafty and affects the game in a myriad of ways, helping lead to wins.
He may be a few years removed from his time as a Celtic, but his play now isn’t that different from what it was during his first stint in Boston. Seeing Stevens’ first move be to bring in someone like Al isn’t all that surprising. He was someone Brad could trust as a coach and he’ll be able to do so now as the GM. Horford is a stabilizing figure both on and off the floor and should bring some much needed veteran leadership while being able to produce on the floor.
The other two pieces in this trade returning to the C’s shouldn’t be overlooked. Moses Brown and a second-round pick won’t have people’s ears perking up, but those aren’t just throw aways either. Some may see a second-round pick and it won’t move the needle for them. That’s fine, but there has been good value found in the second round recently. When exactly was Nikola Jokić picked again?
Brown shows the potential to be a useful backup big. The former UCLA Bruin got plenty of reps this past season and showed the ability to impact the game. He averaged 8.6 points to go along with 8.9 rebounds and a block in 21 minutes a night. He’s an agile, long athlete who, with the right coaching, should be able to hold his own in switches. The vast majority of his shots come within five feet of the hoop so spacing won’t be a strong suit of his. If Moses can begin to shoot from the outside just enough to keep the defense honest, he could be a pretty valuable piece moving forward.
It is hard to say that the Brad Steven era has begun given his history with the Celtics. Brad Stevens 2.0 maybe? Whatever the case, this team is going to look different compared to the past regime. This is the first step of many towards Boston’s new attempt at being a premier organization and in my eyes it seems to be a good one.