Somehow Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter were the Celtics’ ‘Plan A’

Nick Friar
July 18, 2019 - 7:00 am

At Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter’s introductory press conference on Wednesday, the two new Celtics said a lot of the right things. Kanter trolled Kyrie Irving — which was hard to not laugh at — and Walker’s explanation about his approach as a leader — a topic that just won’t die — differed immensely from his predecessor’s.

“I think it just depends on the situation,” Walker said. “You know, I’m not a rah-rah guy. If I have something to say I’m going to say it though. But, you know, I’m more of a guy who’ll say things in a positive way. Everybody’s different. You talk to guys in a different way. But yeah, I just let things flow.

“I feel like if I’m doing something, if I’m working hard, you know, I feel like that’s how guys have to be. I try to lead by example for the most part. You know, that’s the guy I am. Never going to really scream at anybody (or) anything like that. But yeah, you know, I think chemistry is important. You know, I think the team has to be together, that’s one thing throughout my career I try to do team activities and small things like that. But yeah, I’m more of a lead by example kind of guy.”

On Day 1, it seems like the new guys have the attitude the Celtics are looking for. But again, it’s Day 1. When Irving came to town, no one expected things the way they did.

Speaking of the ex-Celtics point guard, after the press conference, Ainge mentioned he had an idea Irving was going to leave well before the Free Agency Moratorium began — which fell in line with his statement about Walker and Kanter being Boston’s ‘Plan A’ heading into free agency.

“When we got done with the draft and we started our preparation for free agency, we started planning for ‘Plan A,’” Ainge said. “Our ‘Plan A’ was Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter. And we’re very fortunate that they chose the Boston Celtics.”

Again, if Ainge did, in fact, know Irving was gone in advance, then Walker being part of ‘Plan A’ absolutely makes sense. But Kanter? Sure he cleans up the glass as well as anyone and can score, but he’s not at all the same type of big as Al Horford.

And when Ainge talked about Horford following the press conference, it became clear the Celtics made another run at the now-76ers big man.

“Once we felt like we had Kemba and we talked with Al’s agent and talked about the circumstance, I think that it was made clear where we were,” Ainge said. “But I think that a decision had already been made.”

Now, maybe the numbers worked out where the Celtics could have signed Horford on the right deal and still made a move for Kanter with Aron Baynes gone. But even if that’s the case, based on Ainge’s comments, Horford was still part of Boston’s ‘Plan A.’ 

A potential trio of Walker, Kanter and Horford sounds much more like a ‘Plan A’ than just Walker and Kanter, especially since Horford’s departure leaves the Celtics with a hole on the defensive end — one that Kanter cannot fill.