- Kemba Walker is beginning to appear in NBA trade rumors
- Walker has several years left on his contract with the Celtics
- Which teams could trade for Walker this season?
“Just changing faces doesn’t always change things,” Ainge told Shaughnessy, “but it may have to come to that.”
Before their recent win against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, the Celtics lost four of their previous five assignments. That included disappointing losses to the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards, two teams who currently have the worst records in the East.
Even with the departure of Gordon Hayward last offseason, the Celtics were still expected to be among the elite contenders this year. But despite the fact that both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are averaging career-best seasons, the Celtics are still just a game above .500.
Struggling Kemba takes a backseat
Kemba Walker missed the team’s first eleven games to fully recover from a knee injury. Kemba’s struggles upon his return were widely-documented, though it’s also true that he is slowly getting into his groove as of late. He scored 21 points in a win against the Raptors, then followed it up with 25 against the Wizards. He also drained three triples on his way to 17 markers in the recent Nuggets game.
But even if Walker improves his shooting percentages, it’s obvious that he has already taken a backseat in the Celtics’ hierarchy of stars. Tatum and Brown are having a healthy competition on the title of the best player in this team. Boston didn’t give Walker a four-year, $140 million contract just to be a third option.
So going back to what Ainge said in terms of “changing faces,” Kemba’s name immediately comes to mind.
Potential trade destinations for Kemba Walker
Ainge and Pat Riley aren’t really known for helping each other’s cause, but Kemba Walker could be the boost that the drastically-underperforming Miami Heat needs. The Heat is ranked 27th in the league in total points per game and recently lost to a Clippers team playing without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Miami’s offense has been horrendous this season and bringing in a proven scorer like Kemba via trade could help answer some questions on that end of the floor.
The Dallas Mavericks is another intriguing destination for Walker, especially if you would look at the fact that during the offseason, this team intended to acquire a third star to pair with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.
The Mavericks just doesn’t look like they will make noise in the playoffs. With a 13-15 slate in the West, they are even outside the playoff picture at this point. Kemba is an option for them if they want to get some help, although I don’t think that the Mavericks will be very desperate to acquire the Celtics guard’s services. It is on defense that Dallas needs a big boost, so they might have to solve that problem first.
Lastly, the Orlando Magic could definitely use a backcourt partner for Nikola Vucevic. Markelle Fultz was finally breaking out of his shell when an untimely ACL injury ended his season. Rookie Cole Anthony has been playing above expectations, but the Magic should be able to reward Vucevic with a proven backcourt star at this point. Aaron Gordon is a versatile player that the Celtics could certainly use, so this could make sense for both sides.