Celtics reportedly 'stealth suitors' for Kemba Walker

With Kyrie Irving on the way out and Terry Rozier looking likely to join him, the Celtics need some help in the backcourt, and may be a potential suitor for Charlotte Hornets star Kemba Walker, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.

The Celtics, I'm told, are emerging as a stealth suitor for Charlotte Hornets free agent Kemba Walker

— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 25, 2019

Walker is entering unrestricted free agency for the first time this summer, coming off arguably his best season as a pro as he earned his third consecutive All-Star nod, posting nightly averages of 25.6 points, 5.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds on 49.4 percent shooting from the field and 35.6 percent from 3-point range. A shifty scorer at the point guard spot, Walker was named to the All-NBA Third Team this season.

Stein called the Celtics a “stealth suitor” for Walker, who will command a high price but has already said he’d consider taking less than the supermax contract the Hornets can offer this season, though he was speaking in the context of helping Charlotte build around him.

Stein also called Boston’s cap situation a “fluid one” with various departures like Irving, Rozier and Al Horford, as well as Aron Baynes who was traded on draft night — the Celtics currently have just under $26 million in cap room, but renouncing the rights to Rozier, a restricted free agents, could move that number just north of $34 million.

Boston's cap-room situation is a fluid one but the Celtics, as Danny Ainge has acknowledged, are weighing their various needs as we speak in both the backcourt (with Kyrie Irving -- and possibly Terry Rozier -- leaving) and frontcourt (with Al Horford exiting)

— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 25, 2019

Soon after Stein's initial report, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer confirmed the Celtics' interest in Walker.

Two NBA sources confirm @TheSteinLine report that Celtics are seriously interested in @KembaWalker. I doubt the Hornets put this thing to bed pre-emptively when free-agency opens June 30. Plenty of suitors, and I assume Kemba will listen to all the pitches.

— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) June 25, 2019