After two years with the Boston Celtics, the newly-appointed president of operations Brad Stevens traded Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder last month. However, there’s a strong chance that the veteran point guard finds himself with another team before next season starts.
In the proposed trade, the Heat would receive Walker, 31, and Kenrich Williams, 26, and send the Thunder Goran Dragic, KZ Okpala, and 2025 first-round pick (lottery-protected).
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“Despite carefully cultivating salary-cap space for this offseason, the Heat almost assuredly won’t land a difference-maker in free agency,” Buckley surmised. “Kawhi Leonard is the only superstar on the market, and considering he’s back at home with the conference finalist Los Angeles Clippers and alongside his handpicked co-star, Paul George, it’s tough to see Leonard wanting out. ”
“Miami, which just fell from a Finals appearance to a first-round sweep in one year’s time, needs to do something to shake up this roster, improve its 18th-ranked offense and try to open a championship window with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.”
The drawback to Walker is that he’s injury-prone, his knee proves to be a continuous issue, which is why Williams would be included in the trade. “Nicknamed Kenny Hustle, he’d be an easy fit with the Heat’s famed #Culture, describing himself as “no maintenance” to ESPN‘s Zach Lowe.
A Healthy Kemba Walker Could Make the Heat Dominant on Offense
While Miami struggled on both offense and defense this past season, adding Walker to the mix could help provide the rose with another consistent three-point shooter, assuming that the Heat retains Duncan Robinson, who’s a restricted free agent this summer.
“A healthy Walker can carve up defenders on the ball, and he’s a sharp enough shooter from distance (career 36%) to spot up alongside Butler and Adebayo,” Buckley wrote. “This trade would force Miami to lift its lottery protection on the 2023 first-rounder it already owes to OKC, so it could put the 2025 pick in play.”
In the deal that shipped Walker to Oklahoma City, Boston shipped him, the No. 16 overall pick in the 2021 Draft and a 2025 second-round pick to the Thunder in exchange for big men Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round pick.
Pat Riley Discussed Adding a Third Big Name for Next Season
With Victor Oladipo‘s future still up in the air, and possibly up to $34 million in additional cap space if they release both Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala, the Heat are capable of making a blockbuster move this offseason.
“We’ll see,” Heat President Pat Riley said during his annual postseason media conference on June 3, as reported by Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. “The market will determine a lot of that as we move forward. I like the nucleus of our team. We have a great core with Jimmy and Bam; regardless of how they performed in the playoffs, we didn’t make a mistake on those guys.”
“I have a pretty good idea of what we have and where we are headed,” Riley said, “Despite the result of the Milwaukee series, which was bad… We are ready to move forward.”