Kemba Walker’s trade rumors: Celtics “tried like hell” to swap guards; Danny Ainge knew the knee was wrong (report)
There is still plenty of time before the March 25 trade deadline, but Celtics president Danny Ainge apparently wouldn’t be afraid to check out his options.
Make an appearance on The Colin Cowherd podcast, NBA analyst Ric Bucher said Ainge tried to move Celtics goalie Kemba Walker earlier this year, who recovers his knee from an offseason injection.
“A lot of GMs are annoyed with Danny because Danny tried like hell to move Kemba early in the year knowing his knee wasn’t straight,” said Bucher. “He was trying to get rid of damaged goods. This is the problem Kemba faces, and at his size, it’s a lot like Isaiah Thomas.
Walker has had a difficult season since returning to the field on Jan. 17. He showed flashes of his former All-Star player, like in a 28-point game against the Hawks.
But for the most part, the efficiency and the score are dropping. Walker is averaging 17 points and 4.1 assists per game this season on 37.1% on shooting and 34.3% on 3 points.
Walker said he was getting healthier every day. Bucher compared Walker’s situation and size to Thomas, whose hip injury derailed him from MVP candidate to is currently trying to return to the NBA. Ainge eventually sent Thomas to Cleveland in exchange for Kyrie Irving, although Irving ultimately left for the Nets via free agency.
Walker is currently in the second year of a 4-year, $ 141 million contract he signed during the 2019 offseason.
“In the regular season you can kind of get out of it and dress it up,” said Bucher. “But when you play against the best teams, they’re going to exploit the fact that he’s undersized and can’t move the way he once could.”
Bucher and Cowherd chatted about the Celtics for a few minutes on the podcast, adding that they liked guys like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Daniel Theis and other players. They noted, however, that the team was still at least a chunk away from competing for a championship.
“I don’t know if there’s anything in particular other than they’re good,” Bucher said. “They are not great. There is nothing that they are excellent. … They will be competitive. They will be a playoff team. But this is not a team competing for the championship.