Free agency does not kick off until tomorrow, night but it looks like Kemba Walker plans to sign with the Boston Celtics, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal is for $141 million over four years. It cannot be official until 6:00 p.m. Eastern Sunday.
As reported this week, the Celtics and Walker both intend for the All-Star guard to commit to a four-year, $141M maximum contract once free agency opens on Sunday at 6 PM. Walker is traveling to New England to meet with Celtics officials at 6 PM ET. https://t.co/KxKR56ezXB
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
Walker was the Celtics’ top priority once they figured out Kyrie Irving would not return. It was reported this week that the Charlotte Hornets lowballed Kemba Walker by offering him just $160 million over five years, but Walker was eligible for the supermax which could have paid him $220 million over five years.
The former Hornet has worked his way to be one of the top point guards in the league today; he is probably a top five point guard in the league. Walker is coming off his best season during his eight-year career. He averaged 25.6 points per game on 43 percent shooting from the field. He played in all 82 regular season games.
Walker may not be a better player than Kyrie Irving, but he is the better fit for the young Celtics team. Although he has a shoot-first mentality, he still can get his teammates involved. Kemba is a player who can take over the game like Irving, but will not be as much of defensive liability. Walker will be able to get his points, and with his ability to shoot, he could also play off ball some. Walker playing off the ball will open up opportunities for players like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Gordon Hayward to score more often, which is something they could not do with Irving handling the ball all the time.
The Celtics locker room had a lot of turmoil last season, due to things that Kyrie Irving was saying. With Walker, Boston should be getting a better leader on and off the court. This move should help put the Celtics back in the mix in the Eastern Conference. If they can also find a suitable replacement for Al Horford, they could make a deep run.
Bringing in Kemba Walker is a good move by Danny Ainge, who was starting to take some heat in these past couple weeks.
Let’s see what else he can pull off.