Potential Kemba Walker Replacement Is ‘Headed to Boston’: Report

Kemba Walker Brad Stevens Celtics

Getty Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics talks to Kemba Walker during the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Kemba Walker’s trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder has left a vacancy in the Boston Celtics‘ backcourt. Could Yam Madar be the one to fill it?

According to international basketball reporter Moshe Barda of TeamScout.net, the Celtics’ stashed guard is “headed to Boston” for workouts and is expected to join the team for the NBA Summer League.

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Madar Made Israeli Premier Basketball League History

Madar was selected by the Celtics with the 47th overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. This past season, the Israeli floor general went on to take major strides with Team Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Israeli Premier Basketball league.

Over 30 games, the Beit Dagan native averaged 17.1 points, 5.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Per The Athletic’s Jay King, scouts did at one time have questions regarding Madar’s shooting stroke, but it looks as if he may have put those concerns to rest. In 2020-21, he flaunted newfound range and consistency, connecting on 41.0% of his 3-point attempts while knocking down 50% of his shots from the field.

Madar’s growth on the court helped him earn Most Improved Player honors. At just 20 years old, he became the youngest in league history to receive the award (h/t Celtics Wire).

While Madar’s talents are unproven at the NBA level, he has the bounce, court vision and a budding stroke to add intrigue to the Celtics’ backcourt rotation. Currently, Boston rosters four point guards; Marcus Smart, Payton Pritchard, Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters. While the latter two are no guarantee to return next season, NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg believes Madar will find his way onto the team’s 15-man roster.

“Unless the Celtics can snag a title-chasing veteran on a sweetheart of a deal, we’d assume Boston is more likely to use smaller chunks of the non-taxpayer mid-level to add end-of-the-roster talent,” Forsberg wrote. “For instance, Boston could use the exception to sign both 2020 second-round pick Yam Madar and whoever they snag at No. 45 in this year’s draft to longer-term deals than the typical two-year minimum that most second-rounders sign for.”

Walker Headed to LA?

It was a near foregone conclusion that when the Celtics shipped Walker off to the Thunder, that a subsequent move could soon follow. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski hinted at such following news of the initial deal back in June.

New York Daily News’ Kristian Winfield recently built upon Wojnarowski’s take, claiming that a “Walker trade is imminent, though it is unclear whether the trade will occur before or after the beginning of the 2021-22 NBA season.”

Of course, any deal including Walker also includes the near $74 million price tag attached to him through 2023 — certainly a tall price for an aging point guard with knee concerns. However, ESPN’s Zach Lowe believes there will be teams in the market for the 31-year-old. Two of which happen to reside in Los Angeles.

“I think both the L.A. teams are going to be sniffing around Kemba Walker,” Lowe said on The Lowe Post podcast. “I think that’s the market. Now, I don’t know if you can get up to the money, I don’t know if they have whatever Oklahoma City wants, but that’s the level that I think they can target.”

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