What signing Kemba Walker would mean for the Celtics’ offseason

Nick Friar
June 27, 2019 - 1:38 pm
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So it looks like the Celtics are going to get their star player to fill the void left by Kyrie Irving. And, of course, Kemba Walker, a member of the 2019 All-NBA Third Team, will not only be the new star, he’ll also man the point.

With the Celtics in deep on Walker — now being the reported frontrunners — that means there are a few dominos that have to fall and will shape the Celtics’ approach to the rest of free agency.

 

Renounce all the pending C’s free agents

This means the Celtics won’t be able to bring back, essentially, everyone who’s becoming a free agent.

That’s Irving, Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, who all have Bird Rights, with Rozier being the lone restricted free agent of the bunch. Then there’s Daniel Theis who’s restricted and has Early Bird Rights, along with Brad Wanamaker and Jonathan Gibson who are restricted free agents with non-Bird Rights. P.J. Dozier, R.J. Hunter and Shane Larking all have cap holds, as well, so they’d be renounced now, too.

 

Limited room

The report is the Celtics will offer Walker a 141-million-dollar deal starting at $32 million annually. But that’ll probably look more like $32.7 million. Either way, that won’t leave the Celtics much room in terms of cap space. Assuming all the cap holds mentioned above are removed and Walker’s salary for 2019-20 is $32.7 million, Boston has $1.4 million left in space. If they plan to sign another player or two, it'd have to be at the veteran's minimum. Unless Boston uses its mid-level exception.

 

Mid-Level Exception

By signing Walker and leaving themselves some space, the C’s get a Room Mid-Level Exception worth just under $4.8 million. They’re probably going to use that on someone to cover the paint.

Now, this might be a reach, but Brook Lopez made less than $4.8 million playing for the Bucks in 2018-19. If his market remains the same, the C’s could sign him with their exception. But it seems reasonable to think he’ll command more money — though not $20 million-plus like he used to.

Nerlens Noel would be another option. Giving him $4.8 million for a year might be a bit much, considering he’s never quite lived up to the hype. And if you look at his per game numbers, they’re not going to turn any heads. But when you look at his per 36 minutes and per 100 possessions numbers, it’s clear the Massachusetts native is among the most efficient defenders on the market. The Celtics just need him to opt out for 2019-20.

The Celtics were also recently linked to Thomas Bryant in Washington. Though the Wizards may be willing to match whatever the 22-year-old restricted free agent is offered.

Dewayne Dedmon’s name has been thrown around the rumor mill as an option. He has said he’d take a bit of a discount to stay in Atlanta, and the C’s MLE would be a discount. So basically, it just wouldn’t make sense on Dedmon’s end. Unless he wants a better shot at winning.

 

(Possible) Trades

Who wants to talk about trades after the whole Anthony Davis mess, right?

But what if this included Gordon Hayward? Danny Ainge seems confident that he’ll have a big year next year, but what if there’s someone out there looking to make a move where Hayward is involved?

The Celtics have been rumored to be interested in Steven Adams in Oklahoma City. But it would take some serious maneuvering to make that deal work. This is assuming the C’s are still interested in Adams and OKC feels Hayward is a fit. (They are in need of a shooter.)

Then there’s the rumor about the 76ers and the Rockets possibly needing a third team in a deal that would send Jimmy Butler to Houston. Matt George of Sports 1140 KHTK in Sacramento is reporting the Celtics are interested in being the third team — which may mean they want Clint Capela. But, again, Hayward’s salary is an obstacle.

There are other ideas being floated around, but moving Hayward is a tall task. Not that it should matter to Ainge, but just looking at it on the whole, it’d be a weird look for the Celtics to deal Hayward away after everything they reportedly went through last year.

The Room MLE seems to be the next move once Walker is in green.