Point guard Kyrie Irving never quite seemed to fit in with the Boston Celtics this past season. Team chemistry was an issue overall, but Irving, in particular, often looked like a great individual and not a great team leader.
According to Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher, a disagreement with team president Danny Ainge may have played a role in the Irving dysfunction.
The reality is that the Celtics probably won't long lament the loss of Irving if he does indeed sign elsewhere this offseason. They will, however, need to replace him. This brings us to Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Walker will be a free-agent target when the market opens on June 30:
Adding the 29-year-old would make plenty of sense for Boston. Walker is a talented point guard in his own right—he averaged 25.6 points and 5.9 assists per game last season—and he may be more of a team player than Irving ever was.
"Kemba would be the ideal addition for the Celtics ... if Danny Ainge can pull it off," Jeff Goodman of Stadium said Tuesday on Twitter. "Not quite as talented as Kyrie, but a leader, all the intangibles, can score and also make life easier for his teammates."
The big question, of course, is whether the Celtics can actually land Walker on the open market. If they can, they'll have little trouble turning the page on the Irving era in Boston.
However, Irving isn't the only player the Celtics will potentially lose in free agency. Center Al Horford has long appeared likely to leave. In fact, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe (h/t Clips Nation) believe that a "mystery team" may already have a deal in place to acquire him.
Point guard Terry Rozier could also be out, depending on how things unfold. In an article for The Athletic, Shams Charania said the New York Knicks are "keeping an eye on" Rozier and could pursue him as a secondary option in free agency.
Losing Rozier will be less of an issue if the Celtics land Walker, but Horford is a different story. He's been a key role player in Boston over the past three seasons.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter could be a free-agent target and a possible replacement for Horford:
As Haynes pointed out, the Blazers and the Los Angeles Lakers could also be interested in Kanter, so he definitely isn't a lock to join the team if the Celtics do want him.
Regardless of who the Celtics actually land in free agency, their roster is likely to look a bit different than it did a year ago.