By Jacob Harmon, writer at BushLeagueSports
In a season of what could have been for the Boston Celtics, general manager Danny Ainge looks to put the Celtics back in position atop the Eastern Conference by signing their number one free agent of choice, Kemba Walker.
The deal first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania is said to be a four-year, $141M max deal.
Spending the last eight seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, Walker previously stated he would take less money to return to Charlotte. One day short of free agency and following his best statistical outing, Kemba Walker has a new home and is the prime candidate to fill the shows Kyrie Irving abandoned.
To make room for Walker, the Celtics are expected to renounce the rights of Terry Rozier. Walker joins a strong supporting cast that consists of Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown.
Boston will need to find help at center and will use the remaining $4.8M once Walker’s deal is finalized.
Two years removed from their last appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston looked ready to take hold of the East after signing star free agents Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving in 2017. That potential was never realized due in part to Gordon Hayward’s season-ending ankle injury opening night of the 2017 season. Even with the injury, Boston still made it to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the Cleveland Cavaliers but ultimately fell short.
2018 saw Hayward return to the court, but the result was again the same.
Kemba Walker brings his skills to Boston as he looks to take the next step in his career and add an NBA Championship to his resume. The former UCONN standout entered the league with high expectations and seems to be turning the corner as he finds himself a former All-Star with a max contract.
Though he will have big shoes to fill, head coach Brad Stevens and the rest of the Celtics brass are hopeful they have found their missing piece.