Though Walker had a good working relationship with superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, his relationship with the team soured after he was hurt by the Celtics’ multiple efforts to trade him since the previous offseason.
Walker puts a premium on loyalty and is said to be frustrated with the Celtics whom he personally chose to sign with during the 2019 free agency.
Ainge Tried to Trade Walker
Boston started shopping Walker after they were eliminated from the bubble playoffs in Orlando last season. Former Celtics president Danny Ainge was allegedly skeptical about Walker’s health after his knee injury continued to bother him during the summer restart.
Kemba Walker trade rumors: Celtics ‘tried like hell’ to trade guard; Danny Ainge knew knee wasn’t right (report) https://t.co/CXCWn8qpPD
The Celtics also tried to trade Walker to the San Antonio Spurs for LaMarcus Aldridge who had an expiring contract. The Spurs ended up buying out Aldridge who later signed with the Brooklyn Nets before announcing a sudden retirement. Walker is owed $74M over the next two seasons.
Now, Walker and the Celtics Have Allegedly Mutually Agreed to a Trade This Offseason
The New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks are said to be among the top contenders for Walker because they have the necessary cap space to absorb his $36M contract for the upcoming season. Dallas is also rumored to be shopping Kristaps Porzingis after their elimination from the playoffs so that could be something worth looking at.
Kemba’s Knee a Lingering Issue
Walker was the Charlotte Bobcats’ 9th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. After playing his first eight seasons in Charlotte, Walker was involved in a sign-and-trade deal that saw Terry Rozier go to the Hornets.
He averaged 20.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game while playing 56 regular season games in his first season with Boston. Walker made the All-Star team for the 4th time in his career. However, he suffered a knee injury in January 2020 and missed 10 games from January to March.
The injury lingered and he received a stem cell injection after the 2020 season and needed a 12-week strengthening program which caused him to miss the start of the current campaign.
Walker posted almost the same averages as the previous season with 19.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game but he played in only 43 regular season games, the fewest in his 10-year career. He played in only three of Boston’s five playoff games and posted a career-low of 12.7 points per game in the postseason.
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