Trade Proposal Swaps Kemba for 21-Year-Old Guard, Saves Celtics $10 Million

Kemba Walker trade proposal lands Celtics Coby White

Getty Kemba Walker, No. 8 of the Boston Celtics, drives to the basket while being guarded by Jalen McDaniels, No. 6 of the Charlotte Hornets.

Finding a buyer for Kemba Walker this offseason will undoubtedly prove difficult. Yet, that’s not to say the Boston Celtics won’t give it a try.

Brian Robb of Mass Live recently reported that the Cs plan to explore moving the four-time All-Star in a trade this summer. Moving off Walker’s $36 million base salary for 2021-22 would “help create some current and future salary flexibility and reduce what is currently set to be the highest tax bill in team history (if the team wants to re-sign [Evan] Fournier for market value),” Robb wrote.

The majority of potential suitors would likely scoff at that price tag attached to an aging, undersized point guard with knee concerns, such as Walker. However, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz believes he’s pinpointed at least one lottery team who may actually bite at the idea of adding the 31-year-old to their roster.

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Celtics Trade Proposal Ships Kemba to Chicago

The Celtics pulled off a trade with the Chicago Bulls at last March’s trade deadline, shipping Daniel Theis to the Windy City. Now, Swartz calls on the two franchises to strike up another deal, one that would land the Celtics a point guard 10 years the junior of Walker, among a handful of other pieces. Have a look:

  • Chicago Bulls Receive:
    • PG Kemba Walker
  • Boston Celtics Receive:
    • G Coby White
    • PG Tomas Satoransky
    • F Al-Farouq Aminu

“A first-round playoff exit means the Celtics clearly aren’t ready to compete for a title yet, so swapping Walker for White resets the timeline,” Swartz wrote. “White, 21, averaged 16.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists and made 37.4 percent of his threes in 54 starts. Boston saves about $10 million in the trade and gets them off Walker’s contract, one that could look really bad if his knee continues to get worse.”

White, the No. 7 overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, has been a name readily linked to the Celtics in recent weeks. In fact, Swartz’s colleague Andy Bailey recently concocted a Marcus Smart proposal that also shipped White to Boston.

As for the actual fit, White would give the Cs a young, intriguing talent in the backcourt. Yes, there are still questions about whether White can serve as a true point guard in the NBA. With that said, Jayson Tatum’s and Jaylen Brown’s budding ball-handling skills would help ease those concerns, allowing White to do what he does best: attack the rim and serve as a catch-and-shoot player.

Why Bulls Could Be Interested

One may question why Chicago would be willing participants in stomaching not only Walker’s contract, but also the other baggage he brings to the table (age, injuries and deteriorating production). However, Swartz said he feels that Chicago’s recent roster moves point to a team in win-now mode, making them far more likely to take a swing at a proven commodity on the trade market.

“By trading for Nikola Vucevic, the Bulls signaled they’re clearly trying to win now. After still missing out on the 2021 postseason, adding Walker would make the Bulls a playoff lock next year,” Swartz wrote. “Although he battled knee issues throughout the year, Walker looked like his All-Star self during the second half of the season. Over his nine regular-season games, the 31-year-old averaged 25.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.1 steals and shot 42.7 percent from three.”

While we did see glimpses of prime Kemba later in the season, it’s difficult to overlook his horrendous playoff showing and say he is undoubtedly back to his old self. In three games against the Nets in the Celtics’ first-round series loss, Walker averaged 12.6 points and 4.0 assists, while shooting just 31.7% from the field and a dreadful 17.6% from 3-point range.

Despite those drawbacks, Walker remains a viable starting point guard in the league — even if his output doesn’t perfectly align with his contract. In reality, his production is still likely far superior to the type of assets Boston would receive for Walker on the trade market. For that reason, it’s difficult to see the Celtics moving on from the veteran this summer.

Then again, if acquiring Walker would help convince Zach LaVine to re-sign with the Bulls, as Swartz believes it would, Boston may just receive an intriguing enough offer worthy of pulling the trigger on.


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