We’ve got some breaking news here Friday morning, starting in the association where the Celtics are trading Kemba Walker, the number 16 overall pick in this year’s draft, and a twenty 25 second-round selection to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Thunder coming back and sending Al Horford Moses Brown on a twenty twenty-three second-round selection. All of this according to ESPN. The reported trade details there with the first time we’re seeing Brad Stevens who took over the front office position there, Celtics shaking things up, and for OKC, what is the plan?
Let’s ask our NBA insider, Bill Ryder, who’s joining us now. And Bill, what do you think initial thoughts here of the trade?
Yeah, Tom, you said that Brad Stevens does not waste any time being bold. This is a straight salary dump getting Kemba Walker’s contract this upcoming year. He is a player option after that for thirty-seven thirty-eight million million dollars off the books now. Al Horford, a very similar player to what he’s been the last three or four years, so he’ll be a piece for a couple of years. And young guy Moses Brown actually. Interesting.
The minutes didn’t play a lot of minutes but when he did, you know, it averages out about fifteen and fifteen if you were to play thirty-six minutes per game but send in a first-round pick. And Kemba Walker in Oklahoma City for the Celtics is absolutely about Boston. Moving on from a guy who didn’t want to be there. It might be a case of being careful what you ask for if you’re Kemba Walker, Oklahoma City not exactly the desired destination for most stars in the association.
And we’re taking a look at notable Celtics under contract and include Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. But, Bill, I want to get back to Kemba Walker. How would you describe his time in Boston?
Disappointing, disappointing, ineffective, inefficient. There were certainly some injuries that were mixed in there. But Boston believed under Danny Ainge and I certainly was one of the media members who agreed that Kemba was going to be a net positive even compared to Kyrie. Irving had a reputation in Charlotte for being a great locker room guy. By all accounts, a really good dude, but you got to be able to play at the level that’s expected for any of those things to matter.
He just didn’t. And we know this, Tommy. The Celtics incredibly disappointing, particularly this past season, and what they did and what they achieved. And so the shake-up in Boston continues. We know Danny Ainge is going Brad Stevens is elevated to that top front-office position. And now Kemba Walker, who a lot of folks thought was going to be one of the keys to a renaissance and a continued level of success in Boston is a member, at least for now, the Thunder.
So where did they go from here? What do they need to do to get back to a position to be in the Eastern Conference final, be a title contender in the eyes of Vegas?
I think they have they still have a really impressive roster, if you believe that Jayson Tatum is a superstar or will be a superstar in the NBA. I believe that that’s critical. You check that box off. I think Jaylen Brown is a really good player, maybe an eventual star. Right. But an excellent number two on that kind of a team. Al Horford can still bowl a little bit. So the big step really is to get the right head coach in and to solidify pieces around that core to make it work, which is Brad Stevens’s job.
That’s part of what’s so bizarre to me about what’s going on in Boston. It’s not a bad roster. They certainly underachieved. Normally when a head coach has a team that underachieved, he doesn’t get promoted. Stevens did. And so it’ll be interesting to see what happens going forward.
It would be interesting to see who’s on that sideline calling the shots there with Brad Stevens looking on from the stands. And where do we go with OKC? What’s the plan? Do we have an idea of what they’re doing right now?
Well, who knows? Because it’s Sam Presti and the guy is a magician. He just pulls draft picks out of his sleeve when you think there’s no chance he can do it. Here’s what I think will be really fascinating. Kemba Walker could certainly stay in Oklahoma City over the course of this next year, maybe the course of the next two years. If he picks up, it is a player option. It’s hard to bring in talent to a place like Oklahoma City from a recruiting perspective.
You pair him with Gilgeous Alexander. We saw with Chris Paul it worked, but I wouldn’t be surprised either. Tommy and again, who knows what PRESTI The GM is thinking if he decides to flip Kemba Walker, move him somewhere else, bring in more draft picks and continue a rebuilding process that’s really about youth right now in Oklahoma City. And future picks give him credit, the GM credit, I mean, Sam Presti able to get another first-round pick and bring in, at least for the moment, a guy who not that long ago was a highly, highly desired commodity and a pretty good player.
Sam Price is a master at collecting draft capital, and he’s been doing it yet again. All right. NBA insider, male writer joining us here in CBS Sports HQ with the breaking news. Bill, certainly appreciate it. And before we go to break here, let me revisit the reported trade details again. Al Horford going back to Boston, Moses Brown in the second-round pick. But it’s Kemba Walker highlighting this here with Boston getting some financial flexibility, roughly 73 million dollars still owed to him.
And for OKC now three first round picks in July.
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