However, this blockbuster trade proposal would undoubtedly top his extensive list of most surprising deals. John Karalis, the host of the “Locked On Celtics Podcast”, floated the idea of Boston trading All-Star Kemba Walker for Oklahoma City Thunder’s future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul.
Chris Paul-Kemba Walker Swap?
Karalis explains how, in reality, it’s a deal that’s most likely not going to happen anytime soon but, still, interesting to think about when you consider what a 10-time All-Star, 7-time NBA All-Defensive First Team player like Paul would bring to a young team like the Celtics and how it would affect guys like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
“Trading Kemba Walker to OKC for Chris Paul, I don’t know if that’s exactly the move that the Celtics want to make,” Karalis said. “Over in OKC, I can see them obviously shopping Chris Paul, and obviously a win-now team is going to be looking for him. The question is interesting though, would you rather have one year of Kemba or one year of Chris Paul, no contracts, no nothing. You’re just picking one year of one of those guys, and I picked the one year of Chris Paul. Chris Paul is kind of perfect for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
“He has that level of knowledge that they need. I would say it’s worth the $41 million, almost, just to crack the heads open of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and to pour the knowledge that Chris Paul has into their heads.”
Kemba Walker’s Health Concerns
Karalis makes great points in his argument for why he would take, at least, one season of Paul leading the Celtics over the second season of Walker at the point. The only way I see the Celtics ever considering a move like this is if Walker’s left knee is a lot worse than anyone anticipated.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Ainge traded away an All-Star point guard in light of troubling health concerns.
In 2017, after learning Isaiah Thomas’ lingering hip injury would cost him the start of the following season, he dealt Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving. Thomas had surgery the following year.
Last summer, Walker inked a four-year, $141 million max contract with the Celtics. He averaged 20.4 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.9 rebounds last season for Boston.
2019-20 Season: Chris Paul’s Renaissance Year
Paul, who was dealt by the Houston Rockets to the Thunder in 2019, turned in one of his better seasons in recent years. Averaging 17.6 points, 6.7 assists, and 1.6 steals, Paul made the All-Star team for the first time in four years and guided the Thunder to a 44-28 regular-season mark, ironically, tying the Rockets for the fourth-best record in the Western Conference.
Paul, 35, has two years left on his four-year, $159 million deal. He’s owed $41.3 million for next season, 2021-2022 is a player-option worth $44.2 million.