As we enter the offseason, we know two things as it pertains to Kemba Walker. One, the Boston Celtics are expected to shop the veteran point guard this summer. Two, any return on a potential deal will more than likely leave Celtics fans wanting more. Yet, no need to fear, as Yahoo Sports’ Keith Smith envisions a trade that will leave multiple fan bases equally upset.
Watching Kristaps Porzingis’ wildly disappointing playoff run come to a halt — and quite possibly his tenure in Dallas — following a Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA insider couldn’t help but visualize an unappealing, albeit somewhat plausible Unicorn trade to Boston.
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Porzingis Has Been Readily Linked to Celtics as a Potential Target
This wouldn’t be the first time the Celtics have been floated as a possible trade destination for Porzingis, and it probably won’t be the last. There were consistent rumors of a potential deal going down at March’s trade deadline, with people drawing a correlation between Porzingis’ skillset and Danny Ainge’s trade preferences (ie: a shooter with size). While Ainge may no longer be calling the shots in Boston, don’t expect rumors linking the Mavericks big-man to go away anytime soon. If anything, calls for Porzingis’ exit from Dallas will only strengthen following his poor showing in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
With questions regarding both high-end production and health, Porzingis’ stock appears to be at arguably an all-time low. Yet, it’s been less than one year since we saw the 7-foot-3-inch, 25-year-old Porzingis light up the NBA bubble, earning second-team All-Bubble honors by averaging 30.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
While gambling on Porzingis undoubtedly has its drawbacks, taking a swing on his talents may prove to be Boston’s best chance of yielding a favorable return in a Kemba trade. Then again, as NBC Sports’ Chris Forsberg pointed out, such a trade could ultimately be parallel moves for both parties involved.
“Do you move him [Kemba] to Dallas for Porzingis and you say, two injury-prone guys and maybe a change of scenery shakes it up,” Forsberg stated on the Celtics Talk Podcast. “The benefit to Dallas is they get out a year earlier because Porzingis is under contract for three more years, but I don’t know if that’s any better for where these teams are going.”
Porzingis is owed $101.5 million over the next three seasons, a contract as nearly as unattractive as Walker’s deal over the next two seasons (owed $73 million-plus).
Porzingis Feels Like an ‘Afterthought’ in Dallas
According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Luka Doncic’s rise to superstardom has left Porzingis feeling like an “afterthought” in Dallas and growing “frustrated” at not being viewed as a legitimate co-star to the MVP candidate.
Of course, Porzingis’ durability issues play a big part in his standing within the Mavericks’ organization. Following a torn meniscus that cut his 2020 postseason short, the Latvian native appeared in just 43 regular-season games this season, dealing with knee concerns. As MacMahon noted, his injuries have diminished his mobility, which in return have diminished his on-court production, as well as his trade value.