We are days away from the 2020 NBA Draft and in light of a new report that suggests the Boston Celtics are going all-in on trading for New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday, does that mean Kemba Walker could be on the move?
In his latest NBA Mock Draft, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor says sources tell him that the Celtics not only have eyes for Holiday in New Orleans but that Boston is attempting to move up in the draft just to take that pick and send it to the Pelicans for Jrue.
“The Celtics have offered up their three first-round picks (nos. 14, 26, and 30) in trades to try and move into the lottery but multiple league sources say they intend to reroute that pick to the Pelicans in exchange for Jrue Holiday,” O’Connor wrote. “If Boston is able to acquire the necessary assets, it’d still need to add salaries to make a deal work. Could that mean Gordon Hayward or Kemba Walker could be on the move? No matter the case, the Celtics are up to something big to try and bolster their title odds.
“If they keep the 14th pick, Hampton makes sense because he could immediately serve as a spark-plug scorer off the bench and provide long-term upside.”
Danny Ainge Wants To Shake Up This Celtics Roster
It’d be difficult to envision Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge moving his All-Star point guard one year removed from when Walker inked the richest deal of his life, however, you get the sense that Ainge is itching to pull the trigger on a big move. Following a Game 4 loss in the Eastern Conference Finals, Ainge saw the Celtics as a team that just wasn’t mature enough, or as he put it, they can’t “play with the same force defensively when things don’t go their way.”
Maybe Ainge isn’t thinking Boston just needs another crack at it with relatively the same group; he’s most likely thinking big because, let’s face it, the Celtics don’t have a whole lot of flexibility with their cap. And in the midst of the quickest offseason in league history, a splash like this would give Brad Stevens a special two-way player to add to his backcourt.
Another Changing Of The Guard In Boston?
Would the Celtics actually move Walker? In a move that would free up cap space, maybe it happens, but that means health is a deep concern. Or, Holiday is an insurance policy on Kemba.
Although it’s not ideal because of Holiday’s extensive battle with injuries, he is one of the few very talented point guards reportedly available who would fit in nicely with the Celtics and not command the ball as much as most other 19+ scoring guards. Also, he makes the Celtics a much tougher team on defense where you can pair him with anyone to anchor the backcourt pressure.
Holiday averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals last season and is on a five-year deal, worth $131.8 million.
He’s owned $25.3 million for the 2021 campaign, the 2021-22 season is a player option, worth $26.2 million.