Let's get the bad out of the way first. A player that is over the age of 30 years old is owed more than $73 million over the next two years, and he has missed a fair share of games due to injury issues in a particularly scary part of the body: the knee. But now that we've gotten that out in the open...
There should be a number of teams that come calling after the latest reports regarding the Boston Celtics and Kemba Walker, the aforementioned over-30 point guard who likely won't be in Beantown for much longer. Trade rumors reportedly frustrated Walker, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, adding more depth to a similar report from Bleacher Report's Farbod Esnaashari.
And while the age, health and money are certainly all factors that detract from his value, his statistics still show just how effective he can be. The 19.3 points per game that he produced when he could play in 2020-21 was the lowest output of the last six years, a span in which Walker averaged 22.2 points, 5.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds while picking up four All-Star nods. When healthy and at full speed, Walker can legitimately be seen as one of the best scoring point guards that the NBA has to offer, with some big-game experience and leadership skills on his resume.
But seeing as his price tag is so hefty, many teams can't even logistically be in the running for Walker, and the same goes for the organizations whose point guard position is accounted for or whose current plans do not call for an aging, expensive player on their books. That leaves us with a handful of franchises who could possibly come calling, and we've highlighted four of the potential teams here today.
Kemba wants out (it seems). Kristaps wants out (it seems). Problem solved!
But when you actually break it down, it would benefit the Celtics greatly to look at a player of Porzingis's mold — of which there are very few — seeing as a big who can stretch the floor was nowhere to be found within the duo of Tristan Thompson and Robert Williams. There's one reason that the Celtics are the top team in the betting odds to land Porzingis.
And the other reason is the fact that they have a player whose contract can match up with Porzingis's reasonably well, and that player is, of course, Kemba Walker. Does Walker really seem like the missing piece for Dallas to make a run in the West? No, honestly, but he wouldn't have to do too much to work out there better than Porzingis has over the past couple of seasons. Walker could also serve as another scoring ball-handler while mentoring the others on the roster, including Jalen Brunson and Luka Doncic... though we're not sure how much Walker can do to elevate Doncic's game, anyway.
New Orleans Pelicans
Attacking a defensive front of Lonzo Ball and Marcus Smart would not be an enviable task around the league, and it could come to fruition in a deal that sends Walker to the Pelicans and includes the eldest Ball brother coming back on the other side.
There would obviously need to be several more pieces. Getting Walker doesn't exactly fit into the mold of looking ahead to the future for the Pelicans, so some draft compensation would head their way, but they're not exactly on the cusp of playoff greatness based on recent results. Besides, with the way Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are playing, shouldn't this be considered a great window of opportunity? But I digress.
Depending on what the sign-and-trade would look like on the side of Ball and the Pelicans, they would also likely include more players to head to Boston in the deal. Would someone like Eric Bledsoe help optimize the Celtics' win-now window?
Oklahoma City Thunder
When the Thunder are going to flip a switch and start trying to put together a win-now team is beyond me, but the fact of the matter is that they have the assets to pull something like that off at any moment. With, like, 400 draft picks over the next decade, Sam Presti is totally cool with playing the long game and watching Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort and some other intriguing pieces grow together until it's finally time to strike.
So in that way, it wouldn't make all that much sense to go after a player like Kemba Walker. Then again, OKC does have Al Horford, who has the same amount of time left on his deal and slightly less money. Flipping him for Walker, among other pieces on both sides, would bring a beloved figure to the Celtics without altering the Thunder's course all that much. That's a benefit of just how flexible they can be given the franchise's current outlook. And though Horford's contract is undeniably pretty bulky and ugly, he fills a need for Boston and would be a welcome face. There's some reported interest behind the idea, too.