Woj: Kemba Walker 'On His Way' to Celtics; Expected to Finalize Contract Sunday

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2019

Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Aaron Gash/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics have quickly emerged as the favorites to land free-agent point guard Kemba Walker, and things could be wrapped up shortly after the free-agency moratorium period opens Sunday.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday that Walker was "on his way" to the Celtics and that the two sides "will get together shortly after 6 p.m. ET and finalize a deal" (h/t Yahoo Sports' Keith Smith).

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reported Walker "has conveyed" to the Charlotte Hornets he will leave this summer in order to sign with the Celtics. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Walker will likely receive a four-year, $141 million contract offer from Boston.

According to the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, the Celtics are likely to make a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Terry Rozier. They could then rescind the offer and renounce his cap hold—thus making him an unrestricted free agent—should they reach an agreement with Walker.

Jared Weiss of The Athletic questioned whether a deal with Walker was a foregone conclusion:

Jared Weiss @JaredWeissNBA

As I’ve been saying on every radio hit for the past few days: Kemba to Boston cannot be a lock because there is way too much going on with Kawhi and KD. Kemba told me he was going to have to wait to see what they do before he makes his move. This. Ain’t. Over. https://t.co/qIf1eofsXh

Walker would replace fellow free agent Kyrie Irving. Charania reported Irving is "fully focused" on the Brooklyn Nets.

The three-time All-Star would be a nice addition for Boston, which clearly has aspirations of contending in 2019 despite possibly losing both Irving and Al Horford. Walker averaged a career-high 25.6 points while dishing out 5.9 assists per game for the Hornets in 2018-19.

Though Walker would be an upgrade over Rozier, the Celtics would still have the little matter of replacing Horford. The Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett reported June 18 that Horford was likely to leave after a breakdown in negotiations with Boston.

The Celtics would have a little over $34 million to spend if they renounced their outstanding cap holds, per Spotrac. Since Walker would presumably get a max contract, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge wouldn't have much left over to fill the remaining holes in the roster.