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Boston Celtics Trade Star Guard Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder
On Friday, June 18th, 2021, the Boston Celtics traded Kemba Walker as well as a second – round draft pick in the 2025 NBA Draft in exchange for Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a second – round draft selection in the 2023 NBA Draft. This intriguing blockbuster trade in the National Basketball Association comes just 2 weeks after Brad Stevens replaced Danny Ainge as the Boston Celtics’ president of basketball operations.
Stevens’ New Role with the Historic Boston Celtics’ NBA Franchise
This is Stevens’ first major decision in his new role with the organization, as he transitions from being the Boston Celtics head coach to now being the Boston Celtics’ president of basketball operations. This movement in the Boston Celtics franchise took place right after they lost in game 5 of the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs to the highly – talented and explosive super – team in the Brooklyn Nets knocking the Boston Celtics out of the 2021 NBA postseason landscape.
It is extremely uncommon for any trade to occur prior to next week's National Basketball Association combine. Especially a deal that is this significant as well as involving such big – name NBA players, but Brad has a well – established and long – standing personal relationship with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s current general manager, Sam Presti. This NBA blockbuster trade agreement achieved various strategic objectives for both Boston Celtics as well as the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The benefits of this trade for the Boston Celtics…
…revolve around the financial aspects of building and managing their player roster as Stevens looks to rebuild the Boston Celtics’ team for the near future. Brad is looking to build around the Boston Celtics’ two largest assets on the court in Jayson Tatum as well as Jaylen Brown.
By trading away Walker and his $73 million contract over the upcoming two seasons of the National Basketball Association, and the Boston Celtics picking up Al Horford and his $53 million contract carrying $41 million in total guaranteed money over the next two years, that frees up approximately $20 million in salary – cap space for the Boston Celtics. This money can potentially be used for the Boston Celtics to sign the free agent guard Evan Fournier that they acquired prior to this years’ NBA trade deadline.
How this Trade Works for the Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder continue to pick up solid future NBA draft picks. They have compiled a variety of great selections for upcoming NBA drafts through multiple trades that they have made over the course of the past few years.
This trade also reaffirms the Oklahoma City Thunder’s reputation for providing disgruntled players a new temporary home before then sending them to an acceptable situation that these big – name NBA star players approve of. The OKC Thunder have demonstrated this behavior by trading for other quality players such as Chris Paul, Danny Green, and Al Horford, and then the Oklahoma City Thunder have moved them on to a destination that they desire like Paul to the Phoenix Suns, Green to the Philadelphia 76ers, and Horford back to his beloved Boston Celtics. Only time will tell where Kemba Walker ultimately ends up in the near future, and hopefully he can remain healthy as he has battled knee trouble over the last two NBA seasons.
"Kemba is a true professional and a great teammate and player," the Boston Celtics’ newly appointed president of basketball operations, Brad Stevens, explained in a statement to the sports media world. "I want to thank him for his tremendous impact, and the positive contribution he's made both to the Celtics and the City of Boston."
"It's tough," says the former star point guard for the Boston Celtics, Kemba Walker, following the Boston Celtics’ loss in game 5 of the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs to the Brooklyn Nets. These were Walker’s final comments to the public as a member of the Boston Celtics’ organization. "It's been really tough, especially because over the course of my career, I've played so many games when I've been healthy. I came to Boston to be a part of those special runs and be a part of high – intensity games and fans going wild, and I wasn't able to be a part of that, unfortunately. Just try to get right. I got to get right."
The former center / power forward of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Al Horford, expressed following the announcement of this NBA blockbuster trade as he wanted to thank the staff and teammates of the Oklahoma City Thunder via a tweet, "While it was short, it was first class all the way and me and my family are extremely thankful and appreciative."
Walker’s Basketball Career Achievements, Honors, and Awards
- 4 Time NBA All – Star (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
- All – NBA Third Team (2019)
- 2 Time NBA Sportsmanship Award (2017, 2018)
- NCAA National Champion (2011)
- NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (2011)
- Consensus First – Team All – American (2011)
- Bob Cousy Award (2011)
- First – Team All – Big East (2011)
- Third – Team All – Big East (2010)
- Big East Tournament MVP (2011)
- Second – Team Parade All – American (2008)
- McDonald's All – American (2008)
Horford’s Basketball Career Achievements, Honors, and Awards
- 5 Time NBA All – Star (2010, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2018)
- All – NBA Third Team (2011)
- NBA All – Defensive Second Team (2018)
- NBA All – Rookie First Team (2008)
- 2 Time NCAA National Champion (2006, 2007)
- Second – Team All – American – NABC (2007)
- Third – Team All – American – AP (2007)
- SEC Tournament MVP (2007)
Brown’s Career Achievements, Honors, and Awards
- All – NBA G League First Team (2021)
- NBA G League All – Defensive Team (2021)
- Pac – 12 All – Freshman Team (2019)
- McDonald's All – American (2018)
Eastern Conference NBA Standings (as of Saturday, June 19th, 2021)
1.) Philadelphia 76ers 49 – 23 0 Games Behind
2.) Brooklyn Nets 48 – 24 1 Games Behind
3.) Milwaukee Bucks 46 – 26 3 Games Behind
4.) New York Knicks 41 – 31 8 Games Behind
5.) Atlanta Hawks 41 – 31 8 Games Behind
6.) Miami Heat 40 – 32 9 Games Behind
7.) Boston Celtics 36 – 36 13 Games Behind
8.) Washington Wizards 34 – 38 15 Games Behind
Indiana Pacers 34 – 38 15 Games Behind
Charlotte Hornets 33 – 39 16 Games Behind
Chicago Bulls 31 – 41 18 Games Behind
Toronto Raptors 27 – 45 22 Games Behind
Cleveland Cavaliers 22 – 50 27 Games Behind
Orlando Magic 21 – 51 28 Games Behind
Detroit Pistons 20 – 52 29 Games Behind
Western Conference NBA Standings (as of Saturday, June 19th, 2021)
1.) Utah Jazz 52 – 20 0 Games Behind
2.) Phoenix Suns 51 – 21 1 Games Behind
3.) Denver Nuggets 47 – 25 5 Games Behind
4.) Los Angeles Clippers 47 – 25 5 Games Behind
5.) Dallas Mavericks 42 – 30 10 Games Behind
6.) Portland Trail Blazers 42 – 30 10 Games Behind
7.) Los Angeles Lakers 42 – 30 10 Games Behind
8.) Memphis Grizzlies 38 – 34 14 Games Behind
Golden State Warriors 39 – 33 13 Games Behind
San Antonio Spurs 33 – 39 19 Games Behind
New Orleans Pelicans 31 – 41 21 Games Behind
Sacramento Kings 31 – 41 21 Games Behind
Minnesota Timberwolves 23 – 49 29 Games Behind
Oklahoma City Thunder 22 – 50 30 Games Behind
Houston Rockets 17 – 55 35 Games Behind
Odds to Win the 2020 – 2021 NBA Championship
For those interested in sports betting!!! According to My Bookie Sportsbook these are the odds as of Saturday, June 19th, 2021 to win the 2020 – 2021 NBA championship outright. The Boston Celtics were knocked out of the 2021 NBA playoffs in the first round by the Brooklyn Nets, and the Oklahoma City Thunder never made it to the 2021 NBA postseason this season.
|Brooklyn Nets +220|
|Phoenix Suns +250|
|Milwaukee Bucks +450|
|Utah Jazz +700|
|Los Angeles Clippers +700|
|Philadelphia 76ers +1100|
|Atlanta Hawks +1800|
|Memphis Grizzlies N / A|
|Dallas Mavericks N / A|
|Denver Nuggets N / A|
|Portland Trail Blazers N / A|
|Los Angeles Lakers N / A|
|Boston Celtics N / A|
|Washington Wizards N / A|
|New York Knicks N / A|
|Miami Heat N / A|
“Boston Celtics trading Kemba Walker, 2021 first-rounder to Oklahoma City Thunder”, Tim Bontemps, espn.com, June 18, 2021.
“Kemba Walker”, basketball-reference.com, June 19, 2021.
“Al Horford”, basketball-reference.com, June 19, 2021.
“Moses Brown”, basketball-reference.com, June 19, 2021.
“NBA Standings 2020 – 21”, espn.com, June 19, 2021.
“United States, NBA Futures – NBA 2020 / 21 Championship: To Win Outright”, mybookie.ag, June 19, 2021.
Written by: David Green