In a state of flux heading toward free agency, the Boston Celtics have suddenly emerged as a suitor for Kemba Walker.
Being named to an All-NBA team makes Kemba Walker eligible for a five-year, $221 supermax deal this offseason, and he has professed some desire to stay with the Charlotte Hornets. He will have multiple other teams interested in him when free agency launches though, and according to Marc Stein of the New York Times the Boston Celtics have emerged as “stealth suitor” for Walker.
The Celtics’ roster and salary cap situation are in a state of flux right now. Kyrie Irving is all but as good as gone when free agency starts, Al Horford now seems more likely to land elsewhere and Terry Rozier is only a coin-flip proposition to be back as he heads for restricted free agency. Rumored interest in trading for Rockets’ center Clint Capela has also surfaced.
Walker has said he’d be willing to take less than the supermax deal in order to help the Hornets surround him with better players. A regular max deal with Charlotte would still go to five years, at close to $190 million, while other teams can only go up to around $141 million over four years. But even the idea Walker would take less opens the door for other teams to compete closer to the same total money level with Charlotte. He could be wooed by a better situation to win, as well as the prospect of hitting the open market again a year sooner.
The Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are high on the list of potential suitors for Walker, with others possibly on the fringes of the mix but needing to make moves to open up enough cap space. The three-time All-Star will have options, and the addition of the Celtics to the list only adds to the intrigue over where Walker will land.