It’s safe to say that after two seasons, Kemba Walker’s stint with the Boston Celtics hasn’t yielded ideal results. It’s an unfortunate situation, really. The Celtics both have Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on the rise as legitimate stars. They’re surrounded by a crop of veterans led by Walker. It seemed like the perfect formula for a title.
But for some reason, things didn’t pan out. Walker has had his fair share of struggles and injuries. There may even be questions of his overall fit with the Celtics’ system. Note that Danny Ainge’s attempt to trade Walker for Jrue Holiday created a rift between the two. As such, almost all analysts believe that Walker’s days with the Celtics are numbered. The front office now led by Brad Stevens must be looking at the matter as we speak. While there are many possible teams the Celtics can engage with, below are what we believe will yield good results for both parties.
Damian Lillard’s massive four-year, $176 million contract extension will kick off next season. He signed this in 2019. But a lot has changed since then. Amid all Lillard’s daggers from the logo and scoring outbursts, the fact of the matter is that the Blazers haven’t really won anything. Sure, they’ve made the playoffs eight consecutive years. But the NBA has always been about winning. And the Trail Blazers have failed in this regard.
As such, all eyes are on Lillard if he’ll pull the trigger and request for a trade. Obviously, a ton of teams would love the services of a player like Lillard. The New York Knicks, who will have ample cap space as several of the guards will be off the books, will likely be ahead of the race for Lillard.
However, Celtics fans know that the front management just won’t let this pass. Besides, the Celtics remain an attractive team. In an imagined scenario, as proposed by Bleacher Report (via Mark Nilon of FanSided), the Celtics can send Kemba Walker, Aaron Nesmith, Robert Williams III, and a hoard of future picks in exchange for Lillard. This seems an attractive package for the Trail Blazers, who will likely enter rebuild mode once Lillard requests for a trade. However, don’t be surprised if Jaylen Brown gets inserted into the package. Walker is good and all but the last two years have been horrendous for the guard. The Blazers would want more assurance that they won’t end up as bottomfeeders once the trade pushes through.
While the Lillard trade might burn a hole through the Celtics’ roster, the same isn’t true if they pursue Kristaps Porzingis from the Dallas Mavericks. Both players are within the $30 million/year range. The Celtics and Trail Blazers can include more pieces to the package if they deem it necessary. Apart from financial concerns, a Porzingis donning the Celtics jersey and Walker donning the Mavs seems perfect for the parties involved. Porzingis and Walker’s underperformance could be just a matter of fit (or lack of it). Overall, both players are still well within their primes. Maybe, a change in scenery is what they need.
Tatum has grown to be one of the most potent scorers in the league. Defenses have gone to respect him by sending out double and triple teams. If Porzingis enters the fold, he would likely knock down all those open 3-pointers all day. The Celtics are also slated to look for a new coach. He may possess the ideal playbook for a Porzingis-Tatum tandem.