Celtics Rumors: Updates on Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and More

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 19: Kemba Walker #15 of the Charlotte Hornets looks on against the Boston Celtics on November 19, 2018 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kent Smith/Getty Images

For much of the 2019 NBA offseason, the Boston Celtics have received unfortunate and disappointing news. The feeling isn't changing quickly, but promising developments are starting to emerge.

And it won't even cost president of basketball operations Danny Ainge his beloved assets.

The Celtics are reportedly a leader in the chase for Kemba Walker, an unrestricted free agent most recently of the Charlotte Hornets. Boston hasn't quite secured a commitment from the three-time All-Star, but his future is looking clear.

While positive news is most important when free agency is officially open, the Celtics find themselves in a favorable spot.

Considering all that had happened before June 27, that would be a welcomed outlook for the organization.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Celtics have emerged as the favorite to sign the All-Star guard. They can offer Walker a four-year contract worth $140 million. While the Hornets could pay $221 million for five years, they haven't presented that offer.

Also, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium noted a "stalemate" in talks between Walker and the Hornets:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

All-Star Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets have sizable gaps and stalemate in talks so far, opening pathway for competitors in Boston, New York and Dallas, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.

Charlotte's loss may be Boston's gain.

Since the Celtics can't exceed the salary cap to sign Walker, specific events would follow. They'd renounce rights to Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier, losing Bird Rights to the formerthe ability to pay him over the capand making the latter an unrestricted free agent.

Beyond minimum contracts, Boston's last route to upgrade the roster in this scenario is with the mid-level exception. That's basically a guessing game of which free agent can be added for the price.

The Celtics are expected to show interest in center Enes Kanter, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Given that he averaged 13.7 points and 9.8 rebounds last season, they might not be able to attract him at a salary below $5 million.

Expect more names at the position to emerge as options.

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 27: Enes Kanter #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers scores against Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Cetlics at TD Garden on February 27, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downlo
Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

Granted, the above conversation is only possible because Boston is set to lose a pair of All-Star contributors.

Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported Kyrie Irving hasn't provided official word he's leaving, but he might not be in the Celtics' plans at this point anyway. The All-Star guard is expected to join the Brooklyn Nets on a max contract.

Al Horford was also likely to depart the Celtics this summer, and nothing has changed on that front. One league source "maintained that Horford's time in Boston is over."

The lengthy report also pointed to D'Angelo Russell as a potential target. However, he's a backup option who only becomes relevant, as Himmelsbach said, if multiple dominoes fall beforehandwhich includes Walker not signing with the Celtics.

And right now, that appears the likely result.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.