Updating contract situations, draft assets after C's-Thunder trade


We have ourselves an NBA blockbuster.

The Boston Celtics traded Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a blockbuster deal Friday. Here are the terms of the trade:

Celtics receive: Al Horford, Moses Brown, 2023 second-round pick

Thunder receive: Kemba Walker, 2021 first-round pick (No. 16), 2025 second-round pick

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The deal gives the Celtics financial flexibility in parting with Walker, who is owed $73 million over the next two years. Horford is owed $53.5 million over the final two years of his contract, but only $41.5 million of that is guaranteed, since only $14.5 million of his $26.5 million salary in 2022-23 salary is guaranteed.

Here's how Boston's cap space will change in 2021-22 after this trade:

2021-22 salary out: $36.6 million

2021-22 salary in: $28.7 million

Celtics' 2021-22 cap savings: $7.9 million

That number could bump up to $9.6 million if the C's don't retain Brown, whose $1.7 million salary for 2021-22 isn't guaranteed. Even if the team keeps Brown, new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens now has the resources to pursue a third star to pair with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who are the only two players on the roster whose contracts extend past 2022-23.

Boston paid a price for that cap flexibility in the form of their 2021 first-rounder and 2025 second-rounder. Here's a reset of their draft assets over the next three seasons after the deal:

Celtics draft picks

2021Second round (No. 45)
2022First round, second round (to CHA if 56-60)
2023First round, second round (via OKC)
2024First round
2025First round

As for the Thunder? The rich just got richer. OKC now has three first-round picks in 2021 and a potential total of 18 first-rounders over the next five drafts.

Thunder draft picks

2021First round (No. 4, No. 16, No. 18), second round (No. 35, No. 36, No. 55)
2022First round (Own, via LAC, via PHX), second round
2023First round (Own, via MIA, LAC pick swap), second round (Own, DAL/MIA, WAS)
2024First round (Own, via LAC, via HOU)
2025First round (Own or HOU/LAC pick swap), second round (via BOS)

So, this deal seems like a win-win: The Celtics get out from Walker's contract and save some cap space, while Thunder general manager Sam Presti adds two more draft assets to his massive collection.

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