Celtics Rumors: Kemba Walker Believed to Have 'Negative Trade Value'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 2, 2021

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As they embark on a new era, reshuffling the roster may not be as easy for the Boston Celtics as shaking up the front office.

The team announced Wednesday that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is retiring, with Brad Stevens taking over in the role and ending his run as head coach. Naturally, that leads to questions about Stevens' next moves on the player side.

Based on multiple reports, moving Kemba Walker could prove difficult. 

ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps reported the point guard "is now not seen as an asset" in terms of a trade. The Athletic's Jared Weiss provided a similar assessment, writing that some within the league "still view Walker as having negative trade value should the team decide to go that route this offseason."

Walker is due to earn $36 million in 2021-22 and has a $37.7 million player option for 2022-23. That's a sizable financial commitment for somebody who turned 31 on May 8 and missed 29 games this season.

The four-time All-Star was absent for the start of the season after undergoing stem cell treatment on his knee in the offseason. He was briefly sidelined with hip and another knee issue as well.

Walker was solid when he played. He averaged 19.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. He also shot 42.0 percent from the field and 36.0 percent from beyond the arc. Still, that's not the kind of production you'd hope to see from a star on max money.

Any team that might acquire Walker can also reasonably question how much his performance might continue to decline. At the very least, he'll probably never again be the player who averaged a career-high 25.6 points and didn't miss a single game in 2018-19, his final season with the Charlotte Hornets before moving to Boston in a sign-and-trade.

Offloading Walker would allow the Celtics to clean the slate a bit. Doing so would probably require taking on another bad contract or including draft assets in an outgoing trade package, though, if his value is as low as it's being reported.

All things considered, Boston might be better off holding onto Walker and hoping he can stay healthy and reasonably productive for the next two seasons.


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