US basketball

Celtics trade Kemba Walker to Thunder for Al Horford, Moses Brown

Reuters
Celtics trade Kemba Walker to Thunder for Al Horford, Moses Brown

May 25, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker (8) drives to the basket against Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Durant (7) and power forward Blake Griffin (2) and point guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the first quarter of game two of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Kemba Walker struggled with injuries throughout the 2020-2021 season

The Celtics are sending guard Kemba Walker and their 2021 first-round draft pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Brad Stevens’ first move in charge of Boston’s front office, ESPN reported Friday, June 18.

The Celtics also will trade a second-round pick in 2025 as part of the package for veteran forward Al Horford, young 7-footer Moses Brown, and a second-round draft pick in 2023.

The Celtics acquired Walker from the Charlotte Hornets in a trade on July 6, 2019, that sent Terry Rozier to Charlotte. The two also swapped second-round draft picks. Before the trade, Walker signed a four-year, $140.8 million max contract with the Hornets – with half still due to him.

Walker struggled with injuries, primarily to his left knee, throughout the 2020-2021 season. He was limited to 43 regular-season games and missed the final two games of the Celtics’ loss to the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs.

The trade sends the 35-year-old Horford back to Boston, where he played from 2016-2019. He was a healthy scratch for Oklahoma City the final 28 games of the season and has two years and $53.5 million remaining on his contract.

Walker, 31, is a four-time All-Star. In 704 career games (659 starts) with the Hornets and Celtics, Walker has averaged 19.9 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.8 rebounds. In his two seasons in Boston, he was close to hitting those numbers with 19.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists.

Horford is entering his 14th NBA season. He has played with the Atlanta Hawks (2007-2016), Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers (2019-2020) and Thunder (2020-2021).

In 881 career games (871 starts), Horford has career averages of 13.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Brown, 21, played 43 games with the Thunder last season. The 7-foot-2 center averaged 8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game. He signed a team-friendly four-year, $6.79 million deal with the Thunder in March.

Oklahoma City now has three first-round picks in the 2021 draft: No. 16, No. 18 (acquired from the Miami Heat) and their own, which will be determined in the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday. – Rappler.com