The Boston Celtics’ current roster has led them to the Eastern Conference Finals, and they are now one win away from a trip to the NBA Finals and a date with the Golden State Warriors. Despite this, the front office could still look to improve around the edges this offseason. However, they won’t have much money to spend.
When sorting by minutes, Boston’s top-10 players will all be under team control heading into next year. While this means they’ll be able to run it back with the same core, it also means they won’t have cap space to work with. However, one recent suggestion sees them sign a young win with high upside.
On May 28, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report wrote an article about upcoming free agents who could use a change of scenery. Among them, he mentioned San Antonio Spurs wing Lonnie Walker IV, listing the Celtics as a potential landing spot.
Walker averaged 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists this past season on 40.7% shooting from the field and 31.4% shooting from behind the three-point line. He appeared in 70 games for the Spurs, starting six, and averaging 23.0 minutes per game.
According to Favale, Walker’s time in San Antonio may be coming to a close.
Walker Being Pushed Out of San Antonio
Despite Walker showing flashes of potential, the Spurs have a multitude of players on the roster who play the same position as him. Favale noted this as a primary reason for Walker’s potential departure.
“The Spurs have guard-swingman types to spare in Dejounte Murray, Devin Vassell, Tre Jones, Josh Primo, Josh Richardson and even Romeo Langford. Chances are they’ll add another (or more) with one of their three first-round picks,” Favale wrote.
And while he admitted that Walker could potentially play his way through the crowded rotation in San Antonio, Favale also stated that the swingman might be better off in a different situation.
“A crowded pecking order isn’t the end of the world, but it’s not exactly helpful,” Favale explained. “Walker is a streaky player who leaves much to be desired on defense and should be on a team inclined to ride out his thorniest spells. With all of their perimeter alternatives, the Spurs aren’t that.”
The Celtics have two elite wing players in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, but after that, there’s a lack of wing depth.
Walker’s Fit in Boston
Past Tatum and Brown, the Celtics lack true wing depth. Marcus Smart and Derrick White can play up a position, and Grant Williams can play down a position, but the next true wing in the lineup after Boston’s two stars is Aaron Nesmith. Adding Walker to the squad could give Ime Udoka a fresh look.
However, the fit would be far from perfect. While Walker’s assist numbers would help Boston’s ball movement, his defensive struggles, as noted by Favale, wouldn’t bode well in the Celtics’ tight-knit scheme.
“Walker is a streaky player who leaves much to be desired on defense and should be on a team inclined to ride out his thorniest spells,” said Favale. “With all of their perimeter alternatives, the Spurs aren’t that.”
Boston has championship aspirations, so Walker might not get a ton of minutes. That being said, Udoka is familiar with Walker from his time in San Antonio, so having another familiar face to go to could be a useful commodity.