There’s been a looming concern that the Boston Celtics could lose both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford to 2019 NBA free agency. Apparently, the team decided to prepare for that potential outcome by adding a new member to their backcourt in Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker.
While a deal can’t verbally be agreed to until Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Walker is expected to sign a four-year, $141 million contract with the Celtics.
With this expected deal on the horizon, the Celtics can shift their focus to free agency and make a continued push to add another top player. The team has been linked to a possible Clint Capela trade, along with a number of free agents.
We’re going to take a look at the Celtics roster along with their starting lineup with Walker set to be in the mix.
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Celtics Roster & Starting Lineup With Kemba Walker
*Notates expected starter
C: Robert Williams*, Guerschon Yabusele
PF: Semi Ojeleye*, Grant Williams
SF: Jayson Tatum*, Gordon Hayward,
SG: Jaylen Brown*, Romeo Langford
PG: Kemba Walker* Marcus Smart, Carsen Edwards, Tremont Waters
The above roster is without Irving, Horford, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier and Daniel Theis, among other players set to be free agents.
Assuming the signing of Walker does indeed pan out, Boston will have a loaded backcourt with young talent. They added Romeo Langford, Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters through the draft.
One big question is who the Celtics will target in free agency to help bolster the frontcourt even more. Semi Ojeleye may be ready to see an extended role, but it’s unlikely he’ll jump into the starting lineup, making it more likely that they make a push to sign another forward over the next week or so. The same can be said for Robert Williams, who’s just holding that spot at this moment until the team makes a free agency signing.
Beyond that, the Celtics need a center, which makes sense on the potential Capela trade. Fortunately, there are also a number of big men on the open market, and there’s a chance they may already have their sights set on one.
Celtics’ Potential Free Agent Targets: Robin Lopez
Beyond Walker and his expected massive deal, free agency is loaded with talent and this may be one of the deepest groups in recent memory. The Celtics will need to target a center and power forward in order to cover their potential offseason losses, so that will be a focus. As Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported, the team is eyeing former Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez with the $4.6 million room exception.
If the Celtics want to bolster their frontcourt a bit as well, they could target a player like Thaddeus Young or even someone like Al-Farouq Aminu. The team could also look at a player who’d add some depth at power forward such as Ed Davis or Kenneth Faried, both of which could impress while given extended minutes potentially.