In a stunning deal final month in the midst of the playoffs, the Celtics shipped Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder to carry Al Horford again to Boston.
Though he was lately acquired, Walker isn’t a part of the long-term plans in Oklahoma Metropolis. At 31 years previous, he doesn’t match the timeline of a younger Thunder workforce who’s nonetheless just a few years away from contending once more.
Does that imply he received’t play in a Thunder uniform subsequent season? Definitely not.
If Thunder GM Sam Presti isn’t capable of transfer Walker for an affordable worth, he could have no drawback holding on to him and ready for the right bundle to be provided.
Walker is about to make simply over $36 million subsequent season adopted by a participant possibility price round $37.7 million through the 2022-23 season. This implies he’s due nearly $73.7 million over the rest of his contract, finally making him harder to commerce once more attributable to his wage on high of some harm considerations.
There’s no query that Walker can nonetheless make a huge effect on a contender, it’s only a matter of staying wholesome. Final season with the Celtics, he missed over 40 % of the common season attributable to harm adopted by being sidelined throughout essential postseason contests.
Previous to his tough 2020-21 season in Boston, Walker had made four-straight NBA All-Star groups, together with being a starter through the 2019-20 season. Moreover, he missed simply six complete video games in his remaining 4 seasons with Charlotte (2016-2019), giving optimism to the current harm considerations.
Although he solely appeared in 43 video games final season, Walker averaged 19.3 factors, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds per recreation whereas taking pictures 36.0 % from deep.
No matter when he’s dealt, there’s a handful of locations that take advantage of sense for Walker’s subsequent chapter within the NBA.
If Walker goes to take a contender to the following degree as a 3rd possibility, one of many Los Angeles groups will surely be good choices.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe lately reported that each the Lakers and Clippers will seemingly be out there for the previous NBA All-Star level guard.
“I feel each the L.A. groups are going to be sniffing round Kemba Walker,” mentioned Lowe on a current podcast. “I feel that’s the market. Now, I don’t know in case you can rise up to the cash, I don’t know if they’ve no matter Oklahoma Metropolis needs, however that’s the extent that I feel they’ll goal.”
Each of those groups must get inventive to carry Walker in primarily based on their present payroll, however don’t depend out a posh deal to make it occur. Whether or not it turns right into a multi-team deal or features a participant by way of sign-and-trade, the LA groups will probably be two franchises to control.
The New York Knicks are projected to have essentially the most cap area of any workforce this summer time. With that in thoughts, bringing in a participant like Walker could be pretty straightforward.
Whereas they’ll seemingly swing for the fences on greater names like Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard first, Walker could be fall-back plan for the Knicks.
After taking an enormous step final season, New York is one main piece away from being a real contender within the Jap Convention. A wholesome Walker would put them excessive as one of many favorites in that convention.
As a result of their cap area, salaries in a possible deal wouldn’t must match. The Knicks even have a ton of younger guys who might use a contemporary begin on a rebuilding workforce just like the Thunder.
The Dallas Mavericks have utterly rebuilt their entrance workplace and training workers since dropping within the first spherical to the Clippers. Their subsequent step goes to be getting extra expertise round Luka Doncic to take that subsequent step as a workforce.
Just like the Knicks, the Mavericks will goal guys like Lillard and Leonard in addition to DeMar DeRozan and others. In the event that they aren’t capable of make any of their high choices work, Walker would elevate the Dallas roster to an entire new degree.
Whereas Doncic and Walker are each greatest with the ball of their arms, there have been many instances through the common season and playoffs that Dallas simply wanted yet one more dependable scorer down the stretch. When Doncic rested, the workforce appeared misplaced. Including a man like Walker to stagger rotations would maintain the offense clicking always.
In response to Sports activities Illustrated’s Chris Minnix, one NBA govt mentioned a swap of Walker for Kristaps Porzingis appears inevitable after the transfer OKC made in June.
Shifting Porzingis actually makes the core of the workforce older, however at this level the Mavericks ought to be trying to win now with Doncic.
The New Orleans Pelicans have been one of the puzzling groups final season, having a strong roster on paper however by no means pulling out the wins that have been anticipated. Maybe it’s a roster that doesn’t match proper?
Not solely would Walker assist area the ground and create for Zion Williamson, however he could be a significant enchancment over Eric Bledsoe.
In any bundle for Walker, New Orleans must ship Bledsoe to Oklahoma Metropolis in effort to make salaries match, however would instantly be a significantly better workforce.
Amidst a training change and hypothesis that Williamson’s household could also be sad together with his state of affairs with the Pelicans, the time to make a splash is now. Upgrading at level guard looks as if begin.
After making it to the 2020 NBA Finals, the Miami Warmth have been swept within the first spherical of 2021 NBA Playoffs. In terms of making large strikes and buying top-level expertise, the Warmth have at all times been probably the greatest.
With their roster solely getting older, maybe bringing in a degree guard of Walker’s caliber is sensible. Enjoying alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, Walker might carry much-needed playmaking and ball-handling.
For wage matching functions, Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala each have giant workforce choices that might be picked as much as make a deal work. Alternatively, these choices might be declined to create area for an enormous deal for a man like Walker.
If Miami needs to have one other deep postseason run through the 2021-22 season, they’ll want to lift their ceiling.
On the current commerce deadline, the Chicago Bulls made an enormous splash, bringing in heart Nikola Vucevic as their second star alongside Zach LaVine. Nevertheless, they’ve nonetheless received some roster constructing to do in the event that they’re going to be a playoff workforce and make a noise.
A method to do that could be taking an opportunity on Walker. A backcourt of him and LaVine would instantly turn into one of the explosive in the whole NBA by way of immediate offense.
It’s unclear whether or not Chicago would take the danger on Walker, however he could also be their most suitable choice in the event that they’re desirous to considerably elevate their ceiling with out giving up main belongings.
Fortunately for the Bulls, in the event that they did wish to make a deal, they’ve received fairly just a few contracts that might be aggregated to make salaries match.