The Boston Celtics will be having a changing of the guard at point guard once again, as it appears that Kemba Walker will join the team in free agency. The former UConn star and eight-year member of the Charlotte Hornets will ink a max deal with the Celtics and the 29-year-old will hope to bring some stability to a team that appeared to be suffering major losses this offseason.
One of the major losses in question was Kyrie Irving. The two-year Celtic, who had been acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2017 offseason, is planning on leaving the Celtics to sign a max deal with the Brooklyn Nets. And while Irving has a high-level of talent, it may be a move that ends up working out for the Celtics. And, in fact, they may have considered Walker to be a better fit with the team all along.
According to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, the Celtics reportedly would have been willing to trade Irving for Walker over the course of the past couple years. Here's what Bulpett said of that possibility in a recent piece.
One league exec who’s dealt with the Celtics even went as far as to tell the Herald he knows for a fact the club would have been willing to trade Irving for Walker during the past two years. If he’s right, it would indicate the Celts knew there were issues with Irving’s approach to leadership and general ability to help cool the fires of young players whose image might have surpassed their actual abilities following the 2018 conference finals run.
It's impossible to know whether or not this is actually true, but the fact of the matter is that a trade didn't happen. That could have partially been due to the difference in salary between the two players (Irving was on a $20 million per year deal, Walker was making a mere $12 million annually) but also, Walker had been the face of the Charlotte Hornets' franchise since 2011. So, trading him in a like-for-like swap given his extremely team-friendly contract wouldn't have made much sense for the Hornets.
Still, the point here is that the Celtics may have had some inklings that Irving wasn't the right fit for the Celtics. We'll soon see if Walker ends up being a better leader who can help the squad mesh, but after a season in which the team failed to live up to expectations, the change is welcome.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.