Woj: Celtics emerge as frontrunner to sign free-agent guard Kemba Walker

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Boston Celtics have emerged as the frontrunners to sign impending unrestricted free agent point guard Kemba Walker, according to a new report from top NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. League sources tell "Woj" that Walker is likely to agree to a deal once free agency officially opens at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The C's had previously been reported as "stealth suitors" for Walker, then at the "front of the line". But Woj is the most respected, reliable reporter in the business. So when he says the Celtics are the frontrunners, it means a virtual certainty that Walker is coming to Boston.

Walker, 29, has become one of the most productive scoring point guards in the NBA over his eight seasons with the Charlotte Hornets. He averaged a career-high 26.4 points per 36 minutes in 2018-19, and posted his second-best rate from the field at 43.4 percent. He also averaged 4.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.3 steals, and 3.3 three-pointers per 36 minutes, earning third team All-NBA honors for the first time in his career.

This also means that Walker is in for a massive payday over his $12 million salary in 2018-19. The C's would sign him to a four-year max deal worth $35.25 million per season, according to Woj at ESPN. It would likely be contingent on renouncing the rights to restricted free agents Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis, and Brad Wanamaker.

The C's will also need to figure out a way to get a starting center, which may require trading a key piece of the roster. But in Walker, they're certainly getting a dynamic point guard who would hopefully produce similarly to Kyrie Irving without all the off-court headaches.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].