Brad Stevens made his first appearance as Celtics president of basketball operations, and Al Horford is back in Boston.
The Celtics have traded Kemba Walker, the 16th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and a second-round pick from 2025 to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Horford, Moses Brown and a second-round pick in 2023, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The trade comes after it was reported earlier this month Walker and the Celtics agreed on each other’s part this season. Walker has been damaged by Danny Ainge’s efforts to replace him in the past, and there has been a split in his relationship with the Celtics management.
Walker signed a four-year, $ 140 million contract with the Celtics before the 2019-20 season, but struggled with injuries all his time in Boston. In 99 regular-season games for the Cs, Walker averaged 19.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game while shooting 42.3% from the field and 37.2% from deep.
The 31-year-old still has two years left on his contract and is set to be paid more than $ 36 million next season and $ 37 million in 2022-23.
Meanwhile, Horford returns to the Celtics after a year each with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Thunder. He didn’t get along well with the Sixers, who encouraged the franchise to switch him to the Thunder. The 35-year-old played just 28 games in 2020-21 before leaving Oklahoma in March after the Thunder could not find a business partner for the attacking veteran.
Horford spent three seasons with the Celtics from 2016-19, averaging 13.5 points, seven rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 49.8% from the field and 38.2% from deep.
Brown, 21, started 32 games for the Thunder this past season, averaging 8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds while shooting 54.5% from the field.
The first-round pick the Celtics are sending the Thunder gives Oklahoma City three first-round picks in the next draft. The franchise also has an 11.5% chance of landing overall No. 1 pick.
Now that Walker is gone, the Celtics are probably looking for his replacement. It is unclear who they might be interested in.