Kemba Walker to Boston

BaseballJones

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Color me skeptical on Kemba. They Celtics didn't want to back the Brinks truck up for pre-injury IT, but they're going to do it for Walker?

Is this a situation where Ainge is just trying to recover from losing Kyrie for no compensation? Or is Kemba really a top 15-20 player who has a chance to stay that elite for another three or four years?
The IT situation is totally unrelated to Kemba's. When they were weighing options on IT, he WAS hurt. Moreover, their roster looked VERY different from what it does now.

And once Kyrie and Horford opted out, Danny's situation changed. Does he roll with the young guys, or does he try to do something with a max (or close to max) guy? Kemba seems to be available, and frankly, he's a terrific player. They certainly would need to add a big, but that team very likely can be pretty seriously competitive in the Eastern Conference.

I don't know if this is the right play, but honestly it has nothing whatsoever to do with IT.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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If the Celtics roll with the young guys they become the Timberwolves in two years with an expensive team that isn't winning.
 

BaseballJones

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If the Celtics roll with the young guys they become the Timberwolves in two years with an expensive team that isn't winning.
Maybe. And maybe with Kemba they are in NBA purgatory. Who the heck knows.

Maybe Kemba is enough to help them remain competitive while the younger guys - including the draft picks - develop, and by the time his contract is up a bunch of the kids are hitting their prime and they're really ready to go.

Or maybe not.
 

nighthob

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Color me skeptical on Kemba. They Celtics didn't want to back the Brinks truck up for pre-injury IT, but they're going to do it for Walker?

Is this a situation where Ainge is just trying to recover from losing Kyrie for no compensation? Or is Kemba really a top 15-20 player who has a chance to stay that elite for another three or four years?
Didn’t Thomas admit that his injury was a byproduct of his hip structure? Put another way, backing up the Brinks truck for Lil’ Zeke might have been a bad reason for multiple reasons. Anyway, Kemba’s not an historically bad defender, and should be an asset for at least the first three years.
 

bankshot1

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I think the guy lost in hoping to fix the Humpty-Dumpty '18-'19 Celtics back together again is having Gordo 100% healthy, and play as advertised. Assuming Kemba signs, a shooter/scorer smart player like Gordo may go a long way with Tatum/Brown/Smart. A big that can intimidate and rebound might be usefull too.
 

Tony C

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I was in the pump the brakes crowd initially too, but Woj doesn’t break out “focused on each other” lightly. Kemba not signing in Boston would be equivalent to him getting the story wrong after reporting definitively.

Which has happened to him, but it’s rare.

(Let's also take a moment and acknowledge how bizarre being an NBA fan is, in a fun way. Dedicated fans (most here) know the broad outlines of an intricate collective bargaining agreement, can tell you a player's salary within a couple million off the top of their heads, and find it odd that someone wouldn't the code words a particular reporter uses for free agent and draft transactions).
Isn't Woj wrong all the time? Not like I follow religiously, but for example pretty sure he just wrote a few days ago that KL was btw the Raps and the Clippers. But now he's meeting with the Lakers. I don't mean that as a criticism -- he's in the passing on scuttlebutt business, almost by definition a lot of that will be wrong.
 

saintnick912

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Isn't Woj wrong all the time? Not like I follow religiously, but for example pretty sure he just wrote a few days ago that KL was btw the Raps and the Clippers. But now he's meeting with the Lakers. I don't mean that as a criticism -- he's in the passing on scuttlebutt business, almost by definition a lot of that will be wrong.
Saw this interesting reddit post about Woj having favoritism towards the Clippers, using sources that he previously connected with at the Pistons.
 

Zereck

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Isn't Woj wrong all the time? Not like I follow religiously, but for example pretty sure he just wrote a few days ago that KL was btw the Raps and the Clippers. But now he's meeting with the Lakers. I don't mean that as a criticism -- he's in the passing on scuttlebutt business, almost by definition a lot of that will be wrong.
Woj is probably the most reliable in these situations. He chooses his words carefully. Just now on sportscenter he said “Kemba is looking at the Celtics, they are more than a strong front runner, they are in a position to sign him when the moratorium ends”.
I can’t see him saying something worded that strongly if there wasn’t already a handshake agreement there. Obviously nothing is done until the contract is signed, but Woj’s phrasing leads me to believe Kemba will end up here.
 

mcpickl

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Isn't Woj wrong all the time? Not like I follow religiously, but for example pretty sure he just wrote a few days ago that KL was btw the Raps and the Clippers. But now he's meeting with the Lakers. I don't mean that as a criticism -- he's in the passing on scuttlebutt business, almost by definition a lot of that will be wrong.
No. He's probably got the highest batting average in the business.

If you don't have faith in his reporting, you probably don't have faith in any reporter.
 

cheech13

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Saw this interesting reddit post about Woj having favoritism towards the Clippers, using sources that he previously connected with at the Pistons.
Some of the stuff he wrote about the Pistons back in the Dumars days was downright embarrassing. Does anymore remember him saying that they'd be a favorite to sign Lebron? Woj is great, the best actually, but he's carried a lot of water for people over the years to get those contacts. The idea that he's above floating a story as a favor to someone is downright laughable.
 

djbayko

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Isn't Woj wrong all the time? Not like I follow religiously, but for example pretty sure he just wrote a few days ago that KL was btw the Raps and the Clippers. But now he's meeting with the Lakers. I don't mean that as a criticism -- he's in the passing on scuttlebutt business, almost by definition a lot of that will be wrong.
His report very well could have been accurate. Maybe the situation (cap room) changed and the Lakers were added to his list. Or maybe he’s just taking a meeting to hear what they have to say. I don’t think he’s been proven wrong here necessarily.
 

lovegtm

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His report very well could have been accurate. Maybe the situation (cap room) changed and the Lakers were added to his list. Or maybe he’s just taking a meeting to hear what they have to say. I don’t think he’s been proven wrong here necessarily.
I was more pointing out (as have others) that he differentiates the language he uses when a deal is basically done from the fuzzier situations like Kawhi’s. The draft night thesaurus is one of the more humorous examples of this.
 

benhogan

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If the Celtics roll with the young guys they become the Timberwolves in two years with an expensive team that isn't winning.
That would have the Celtics at 36-46. You'd make a lot of money in Vegas if you really believe that. You better hope they don't sign Kemba;)
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Woj could be spot on about something but the reality is that while the free agency period has effectively started, ink can't be put on paper yet so there are risks that something may change, especially with the amounts of money at stake.

I agree with those who note that Woj and Shams are generally very good about breaking actual news and tend to be right more often than not.

That said, there is a reason this story is out there. Why would the Celtics want this to be reported before a deal could actually be finalized?
 

luckiestman

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^i agree. What Woj is saying is likely true right now. Kemba can change his mind.
 

DJnVa

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Isn't Woj wrong all the time? Not like I follow religiously, but for example pretty sure he just wrote a few days ago that KL was btw the Raps and the Clippers. But now he's meeting with the Lakers. I don't mean that as a criticism -- he's in the passing on scuttlebutt business, almost by definition a lot of that will be wrong.
That's because a few days ago the Lakers didn't have the ability to offer another max contract. Now they do, and now KL will meet with them.
 

Zereck

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Woj could be spot on about something but the reality is that while the free agency period has effectively started, ink can't be put on paper yet so there are risks that something may change, especially with the amounts of money at stake.

I agree with those who note that Woj and Shams are generally very good about breaking actual news and tend to be right more often than not.

That said, there is a reason this story is out there. Why would the Celtics want this to be reported before a deal could actually be finalized?
Ego? Ainge has been getting killed in the media and I could envision a scenario where he wants the lower tier free agents to know the Celtics will still be players in free agency.
 

mcpickl

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Ego? Ainge has been getting killed in the media and I could envision a scenario where he wants the lower tier free agents to know the Celtics will still be players in free agency.
How would reporting Kemba will be taking all the Celtics cap space help them with the lower tier free agents?

They won't have cap space for them, and even if they did, they wouldn't sign here before Kemba actually signed. A rumored Kemba signing helps the Celtics zero.

And if you think Ainge cares what the media thinks about him, you haven't really been following the Celtics.

I don't think Ainge cares what anyone thinks about his moves.
 

Zereck

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How would reporting Kemba will be taking all the Celtics cap space help them with the lower tier free agents?

They won't have cap space for them, and even if they did, they wouldn't sign here before Kemba actually signed. A rumored Kemba signing helps the Celtics zero.

And if you think Ainge cares what the media thinks about him, you haven't really been following the Celtics.

I don't think Ainge cares what anyone thinks about his moves.
I think Danny definitely has an ego, and I'm not saying that's bad. The Celtics are going to fill out the roster with the exception and vet minimum contracts. If free agents are weighing offers between multiple teams it gives them a head start having Kemba locked up. I've followed the Celtics my entire life, if you disagree it's cool. It was just speculation on Dejesus' last post.
 

djbayko

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I was more pointing out (as have others) that he differentiates the language he uses when a deal is basically done from the fuzzier situations like Kawhi’s. The draft night thesaurus is one of the more humorous examples of this.
hmm...I didn’t reply to you but I agree with what you said. I also believe ‘my suggestion is very possible and not mutually exclusive with yours.
 

Tony C

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No. He's probably got the highest batting average in the business.

If you don't have faith in his reporting, you probably don't have faith in any reporter.
Oh, I wasn't meaning to imply I had no faith in him. By "always wrong" I didn't mean he's full of BS...just that nature of his business to be passing on rumors/insider spin which will be, by their nature, often turn out to be wrong at the end of the day. I don't keep batting average records on this stuff, but I've no doubt you are right his is higher than others.

Sorry for my poor phrasing -- my bad.

And he (and all these guys) definitely write in ways that imply their levels of certainty.
 

Captaincoop

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On a minor note...Kemba signing with the C's is a perfect time to start a tradition of re-circulating retired numbers.

Heinsohn is still around to give his blessing, and Kemba is a worthy guy who has never worn another number.
 

Cellar-Door

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On a minor note...Kemba signing with the C's is a perfect time to start a tradition of re-circulating retired numbers.

Heinsohn is still around to give his blessing, and Kemba is a worthy guy who has never worn another number.
I want the Celtics to keep retiring numbers and keeping them that way until they have so many that they have to petition the league to allow 3 digits
 

HomeRunBaker

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Dedmon if he will take the MLE is the guy
Ainge has had two opportunities to go after Dedmon for less money in the past and has shown no interest. Someone was mentioning Kanter who Portland isn’t likely to pay. I’m not too thrilled envisioning teams exploiting a Kemba/Kanter PNR defense.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Brian Robb at BSJ looks at a couple of longshot possibilities that the C's could try to pull off if they are going to sign Walker.

Can the Celtics keep Horford and sign Walker? In theory, Horford's value to the Celtics goes up if they bring in Walker. Robb points out 2 ways that this could technically happen, though both of them are highly unlikely:

1. Trade Hayward into cap room. They would need to include assets to offset the possibility that Hayward doesn't bounce back. Robb calls this possible but highly unlikely, for numerous reasons.

2. 3-team sign and trade with Boston sending Kyrie out and getting Kemba back. Boston would need to ship out additional salaries to Brooklyn because Kyrie is a BYC player who would only count $20.1 million against the cap, plus they would need to send assets because why would Brooklyn want to help the Celtics unless the Celtics do something to make it worth Brooklyn's while.

Based on what would be involved here, Robb concludes (and I would agree with him) that it just isn't happening. He gives it 5% odds.

He also examines another option that seems somewhat more likely: Celtics execute a 3-team sign and trade that sends Horford out, Walker in. The advantage to doing this, from Boston's perspective, would be that it keeps them above the cap, meaning that instead of having the $4.7 million room exception, they would have the full MLE ($9.2 million) plus the biennial exception ($3.7 million) so they would be better able to compete in the market for available bigs.

This also seems unlikely, depending on where Horford is headed. If he goes somewhere where he can sign into cap space, then the Celtics would need to send assets to Horford's new team and to Charlotte in order to get both on board. That seems like it won't happen. But if Horford wants to go somewhere that is over the cap, then sign-and-trade is the only way that could happen, with Horford's acquiring team sending players to Charlotte to salary match. That team would be incentivized to make it worth it for Charlotte, so the Celtucs may not need to part with assets.so much in the way of additional assets
 

DJnVa

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Charlotte’s offer was apparently 5/161 so more dollars than Boston’s 4/141 but lower average value. Charlotte could have offered 5/221 but will not pay luxury tax.

 

Eddie Jurak

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That's interesting, because whether that is a better deal turns on the impact of 1) Kemba getting more up front dollars from Boston and 2) Kemba's market value after 3 or 4 years with the Celtics vs his chance to hit the market after 4-5 years with Charlotte.
 

lexrageorge

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There is no way Kemba will accept a 5/160 offer from Charlotte when he could get a 4/140 elsewhere. He'll easily get $20M on the open market for that 5th year, and he could always hedge his bets by signing a 3+1 and opting out.
 

bowiac

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I agree it's not a great offer, but I'm not sure Kemba is a favorite to get $20M/year heading into his age 33 season. He's incredibly talented, but probably doesn't profile to age super well.

Kevin Pelton did a quick study on this a few years back, showing smaller point guards (6'1" and under) tended to peak earlier, and age worse than taller point guards:

24996
 

the moops

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Elite athletes also tend to think they will remain elite longer than they actually will. So while Kemba may indeed not get 20 million a year in his age 33 season, it is likely that he very well thinks he will. And that confidence is part of the reason he is so good currently.
 

Cellar-Door

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Elite athletes also tend to think they will remain elite longer than they actually will. So while Kemba may indeed not get 20 million a year in his age 33 season, it is likely that he very well thinks he will. And that confidence is part of the reason he is so good currently.
yeah, telling a guy... "congrats on making All-NBA, and being the best player in the history of our shit-stain of a franchise. Please re-sign, we're going to offer you what everyone else is, 30M+ for 4 years 141 total, but OUR DEAL has a 5th year and 19M dollars on it, because we assume you'll be mostly washed by then and be desperate to take a 50% paycut" isn't a sell that's gonna work, even less so when everyone knows the team is going to be bad and you're trying to save money because you gave a bunch of players who are nowhere near Kemba's level huge contracts.
 

DannyDarwinism

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I agree it's not a great offer, but I'm not sure Kemba is a favorite to get $20M/year heading into his age 33 season. He's incredibly talented, but probably doesn't profile to age super well.

Kevin Pelton did a quick study on this a few years back, showing smaller point guards (6'1" and under) tended to peak earlier, and age worse than taller point guards:

View attachment 24996
That’s interesting. I imagine the big gap in the first couple of years is attributable to small guards having to be really good from jump just to get drafted and play minutes. Raw six foot projects don’t really even exist, much less get meaningful developmental minutes.
 

mauf

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yeah, telling a guy... "congrats on making All-NBA, and being the best player in the history of our shit-stain of a franchise. Please re-sign, we're going to offer you what everyone else is, 30M+ for 4 years 141 total, but OUR DEAL has a 5th year and 19M dollars on it, because we assume you'll be mostly washed by then and be desperate to take a 50% paycut" isn't a sell that's gonna work, even less so when everyone knows the team is going to be bad and you're trying to save money because you gave a bunch of players who are nowhere near Kemba's level huge contracts.
Seems to me the Hornets’ offer is designed solely to convince their fans that they made a real effort to re-sign Kemba. And it will probably accomplish that — not many NBA fans follow the business side of the game as closely as we do.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Seems to me the Hornets’ offer is designed solely to convince their fans that they made a real effort to re-sign Kemba. And it will probably accomplish that — not many NBA fans follow the business side of the game as closely as we do.
Yeah, ‘we offered more money’ is different from ‘we offered the full Supermax’ but they can gloss over that to the average fan.
 

bowiac

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That’s interesting. I imagine the big gap in the first couple of years is attributable to small guards having to be really good from jump just to get drafted and play minutes. Raw six foot projects don’t really even exist, much less get meaningful developmental minutes.
I think that's exactly right. A 6ft Dante Exum doesn't get drafted, while in reality, he's onto his 2nd contract now without having shown anything.
 

Kliq

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I agree it's not a great offer, but I'm not sure Kemba is a favorite to get $20M/year heading into his age 33 season. He's incredibly talented, but probably doesn't profile to age super well.

Kevin Pelton did a quick study on this a few years back, showing smaller point guards (6'1" and under) tended to peak earlier, and age worse than taller point guards:

View attachment 24996
I mean, big men typically hang around longer than guards for the same reason. For shorter players, athleticism/quickness are more valuable because they lack the length to finish around taller/longer defenders. They need to be ahead of their defenders because they can't finish over their defenders as well. If Walker loses half-a-step it will effect him more than a player like Giannis, who will still have that absurd length to finish over and around defenders.

That being said, Walker isn't a Westbrook/Wall type that makes up for a lack of height with elite explosiveness, his game is based more on timing and craftiness and he has improved his three point shooting each year, going from a guy you could leave open outside of 15 feet, to one of the most prolific shooters in the NBA.

The last year of his contract doesn't scare me that much; you are paying for what he can do for you over the next 2-3 years, and if acquiring him means having to pay for an extra year when he will likely be overpaid, so be it.

From Charlotte's perspective, it doesn't make sense to hold onto Kemba. Outside of the luxury tax implications, Walker's presence has kept Charlotte from effectively tanking and had them drafting in the 5-12 range each year instead of the 1-4. They've totally sucked at drafting; but if they had a better pick each year things might be different. Re-signing Kemba isn't going to turn them into contenders, they need to scrap everything and start with a real rebuild that starts with tanking hard for a top three pick.
 

finnVT

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That’s interesting. I imagine the big gap in the first couple of years is attributable to small guards having to be really good from jump just to get drafted and play minutes. Raw six foot projects don’t really even exist, much less get meaningful developmental minutes.
Of course, for this reason you should also be extremely careful about comparing those two groups since they're each normalized to their own peak performance. For all we can tell, short guards are as good or better than tall ones in ages 30-34, but since there are fewer "bad" short guards contributing to the peak (since they don't get drafted, as pointed out), they have a higher peak, and those a lower % of peak performance later on.

Not to mention that judging anything from graphs like that with no error bars is an exercise in futility.
 

DourDoerr

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The potential PG "swap" of KI for KW is a tremendous break for Ainge. He's giving up a couple of years in age, but he's not gambling on KI's knees anymore. Add to that the 180 degree change in the locker room's mental hygiene and it's a big win going forward. I'd prefer Russell (6'5" 22yo All Star - overrated probably but still lots of time to develop), but Ainge already has 2 very youthful potential studs that need developing. Getting them paired immediately with a PG who can create and take pressure off, has experience, and brings a positive attitude is an imperative for Ainge to find out what he actually has in hand for him to sort out the next moves. Going for a big at this point won't answer the questions Ainge has about his young roster. Also, it's a nice payback to Stephens for being a good soldier.

Interestingly, KW shot almost 39% and 38% on 3's on 602 and 601 shots, respectively, in '17 and '18. Last year his percentage dipped to 35% on 131 more attempts. Might bolster the argument that you'll get an uptick in efficiency with a better cast surrounding him - at least in this area.
 

The Needler

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That being said, Walker isn't a Westbrook/Wall type that makes up for a lack of height with elite explosiveness, his game is based more on timing and craftiness and he has improved his three point shooting each year, going from a guy you could leave open outside of 15 feet, to one of the most prolific shooters in the NBA.
His 3pt% and EFG% have decreased in each of the last two years.
 

Toe Nash

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Of course, for this reason you should also be extremely careful about comparing those two groups since they're each normalized to their own peak performance. For all we can tell, short guards are as good or better than tall ones in ages 30-34, but since there are fewer "bad" short guards contributing to the peak (since they don't get drafted, as pointed out), they have a higher peak, and those a lower % of peak performance later on.

Not to mention that judging anything from graphs like that with no error bars is an exercise in futility.
There were only 21 players in the whole "study" and for some reason he only picked players whose careers ended between 2005 and 2010. I suspect Gary Payton's inclusion in this group skewed the minimal results here since he was by far the best player included and he was over 6'1'". This tells us basically nothing about Kemba.
 

Captaincoop

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His 3pt% and EFG% have decreased in each of the last two years.
Overall his trend looks pretty good...he's gone from being like a 32ish% shooter early in his career to more like a 37ish% shooter the last four years.

Have to assume he'll get better looks when he has some nice scorers like Tatum and Hayward around him.
 

lexrageorge

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His 3pt% and EFG% have decreased in each of the last two years.
As usual, numbers lacking context add little.

His 3 point % the last 3 seasons:

0.399 (career high), 0.384 (2nd highest of his career) and 0.356. In 2017, he also shot a career high (at the time) 48% on 2's, giving him a career high EFG% of 0.527.

Now, a deeper look: between 2017 and 2018, he took one less 3 point attempt (601 vs 602), and made 9 fewer. Over the course of an entire season. So, the variation between 2017 and 2018 is classic statistical noise.

In 2019, he shot a lot more 3's: 731. It seems like he didn't make those extra attempts worth it, as he connected on only 29 of them. But he also took a lot more 2's as well, which he shot at a career high of 0.494. As a result, his EFG% in 2019 was only 0.005 less than in 2018, another meaningless variation.

And, fwiw, he also had a career high in FT attempts last season.

It makes sense he will have fewer shot opportunities with the Celtics. Ideally, he makes the most of the ones he does get.
 

The Needler

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That doesn’t necessarily mean he has become a worse shooter. Note that I said “prolific” and not “efficient.”
Actually, what you said, and what I responded to was that “he has improved his three point shooting each year.”
 

luckiestman

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I don’t like how much of a foregone conclusion this seems like. There always seems to be some plot twist. Is there going to be a last minute suitor or does Kemba simply prefer Boston?