Analyst Suggests Celtics Acquire Kemba Walker’s Replacement

Getty Images James Harden isn't backing down from his trade demand. Should Celtics intervene?

The news of Kemba Walker’s left knee injury was an enormous blow for Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics.

It dropped just weeks before December 23’s Opening Night when the Celtics will embark on a journey that Stevens hopes will extend beyond a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, Walker’s stem cell injection in his left knee means he will be re-evaluated in January, which doesn’t guarantee Kemba will be ready to return to the floor.

The Celtics are hopeful that the injection will reduce discomfort in the knee, thus granting Walker free mobility and extended range – something that the All-Star point guard says plagued his performance throughout last year’s postseason. But what if Walker’s knee doesn’t improve and he’s not the same player we saw throughout the regular season?

Bob Ryan On James Harden Going To Boston: ‘I Hope Not. I Hope Danny Doesn’t Go In That Direction’

Realistically, it would drastically alter the Celtics’ chances of reaching the NBA Finals. Jeff Goodman, host of the Bob Ryan & Jeff Goodman Podcast, suggests Boston take a swing on reeling in top-tier talent, someone who would complement Jayson Tatum and resurrect the Celtics into instant title-contenders.

Goodman says Danny Ainge should think about targeting NBA superstar James Harden. His co-host wasn’t feeling the idea.

“I’ve never been a big fan of his, I respect the talent, obviously but I don’t want him,” Ryan said. “I like the group you’ve built. I’m speaking strictly as a fan here. I like the group we got; I want to try to win with this group. I don’t know what they need – maybe, they helped themselves enough in the draft, I don’t know. We don’t know whether there’s going to be any instant plasma supply of (Aaron) Nesmith or even (Payton) Pritchard. I don’t know but I like what we got and I definitely like picking up Tristan Thompson.

“I hope not. I hope Danny doesn’t go in that direction.”

If Walker doesn’t return to form, it will go down as another devastating blow in what’s become a seemingly never-ending pattern of health issues with the Celtics and marquee players. Isaiah Thomas was an MVP candidate in 2017 when his injured hip gave out in the Eastern Conference Finals, Gordon Hayward was five minutes into his Celtics tenure when his season-ending ankle injury happened in Cleveland and, in the same season, Kyrie Irving’s knee injury in March spelled the end of his season, as well, just weeks before the 2018 NBA playoffs.

Jeff Goodman On 2021 Celtics: ‘They’re Not Going Anywhere Without Kemba’

For Goodman, this is a golden ticket for the Celtics to cash-in on a top-5 player.

“You got the money where you can go after a big-time guy, do you wait and see kind of, what you need?” asked Goodman. “If Kemba isn’t healthy, in my opinion, they’re not going anywhere. They’re not going anywhere without Kemba.”

To which Ryan suggested the Celtics will make the playoffs, at least. Goodman’s reply? He wasn’t sure.

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