It didn’t take long for new Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens to make his first big move in his new chair.
And for Stevens and the Celtics, it was a big one, as the Celtics successfully dumped Kemba Walker’s max contract by way of a reunion with a leader from Stevens’ day on the sidelines, as the Celtics sent Walker and a draft pick to the Thunder in exchange for Al Horford, center Moses Brown, and a draft pick on Friday afternoon.
“Kemba is a true professional and a great teammate and player,” Stevens said in a statement following the trade. “I want to thank him for his tremendous impact, and the positive contribution he’s made both to the Celtics and the City of Boston.”
With the Celtics for just two seasons, Walker averaged 19.9 points per game and shot 42.3 percent from the field in his 99-game Boston run, but struggled to be the famous ‘Cardiac Kemba’ the Celtics needed in the postseason, as Walker battled knee ailments in both of Boston’s postseason runs with Walker at point guard.
It’s unclear if Walker will stay with the Thunder, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted that the Thunder ‘can work’ with Walker like they did with Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Horford.
Horford, meanwhile, will make his return to Boston after spending the last two seasons with Philadelphia and Oklahoma City.
“Al played a critical role both on and off the court during his time in Boston, and we’re excited to welcome he and his family back to the Celtics,” said Stevens. “His ability to elevate teammates with his experience and leadership make for a great addition. We also want to welcome Moses to Boston. He is a promising young player.”
The 35-year-old Horford’s second Boston run comes with some of his old teammates playing even greater roles for the franchise, with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum elevated to superstar status since Horford’s departure in 2019. Horford was an All-Star and captured NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors with the C’s in 2018.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.