The Celtics Replace Kyrie With Kemba
The Big Lead
What’s the deal?
All-Star point guard Kemba Walker has signed a four year, $141 million deal (via sign-trade) with the Boston Celtics. This is huge news for both sides. After the loss of Kyrie and failure to trade for Anthony Davis, it appeared that the Celtics had fallen out of contention. Now, with the addition of Kemba while retaining their young core the Celtics are poised to make another run.
What does Walker bring to the team?
Kemba is the perfect replacement for Kyrie. In fact, he may be an even better fit. While the two perennial All-Stars put up identical numbers last year, their personalities couldn’t be more different.
The more reserved Walker is lauded as a great teammate and leader. While chemistry issues with Kyrie hurt the Celtics last year, Kemba is sure to have an opposite effect on this Boston squad.
While his small stature makes him a liability on defense, coach Brad Stevens is uniquely equipped to handle this. Just a few short years ago, Stevens coached Isaiah Thomas in a near MVP season. The Boston head coach did a good job of hiding Thomas on defense that year, and will likely use similar schemes for Walker.
What does this move mean for Boston?
The Celtics have hung on to remain relevant. As their young stars Tatum and Brown continue to improve, a veteran superstar like Kemba can both help in their development and help the team continue to make deep playoff runs. With the recent loss of Al Horford, Kemba’s leadership is especially needed.
Although a great deal, this signing leaves the Celtics out of cap space. While it’s great that they have replaced Horford’s leadership, Boston still need to find a way to replicate his frontcourt production. It’s likely Celtics GM Danny Ainge will use some of his many assets to make another big move.
How would you grade this contract?
A superstar like Kemba Walker is hard to come by. Locking him up for four years alongside the young Celtics core gets an A.
The Celtics have found their point guard. Now they need a center. With few of the top free agents left and no cap space to use, it’s going to be interesting to see what moves Ainge makes in the next few weeks.
*Update the Celtics have signed Enes Kanter*