Can Celtics sell Kemba Walker on Boston as a free-agent destination?

Can Celtics sell Kemba Walker on Boston as a free-agent destination?

BOSTON -- So you’re saying there’s a chance? 

The Boston Celtics are in need of a major jolt of talent in what’s expected to be major defections in the coming days. 

So what about … Kemba Walker?

The Charlotte Hornets can offer Walker significantly more money than any team once he officially hits free agency on Sunday (more than $221 million), the kind of money that would be difficult for anyone to walk away from. 

For the Boston Celtics, it’s a similar situation they were in during the summer of 2016 when they were in pursuit of Al Horford — who, like Walker, had spent his entire NBA career with one team. 

Boston sold Horford on the Celtics’ title-contending future with him being a significant part. 

They can’t play that card this time around. 

But considering who they are targeting (Walker) and the situation he has been in with the Hornets, you don’t really have to make that kind of pitch in order to convince Walker that Boston is a better situation than the one he is currently in basketball-wise. 

In Walker’s eight seasons with the Hornets, they have been to the playoffs just twice and have been bounced in the first round both times with no team winning more than 48 games in a season.

And while there is a clear gap between what Boston can do money-wise for Walker and what the Hornets can do, Boston can counter that by offering Walker something Charlotte can’t come close to matching: hope of being part of a title-contending team. 

Since Boston won it all in 2008, they have had teams that have either been in the hunt for the Larry O’Brien Trophy, or on the fast track to getting back in the race quickly. 

That’s why, while disappointed with how last season ended as well as the departure of key players, the Celtics have a quiet confidence that everything will work out for the better because based on their track record in recent years, that’s what has transpired. 

Walker has made it clear that he loves Charlotte, Hornets fans and how the organization has treated him. But the 6-foot-1 guard also loves to win, something he has done very little of while playing for Charlotte. 

And while it’s obvious that the Celtics are not presently a title-contending team, Walker knows as well as anyone how quickly Ainge has wheeled and dealed his way into building a title-contender in no time. 

At 29 years of age, Walker has to be giving more thought now than ever about his future, and will he ever get a shot at playing for a legit title contender. 

Because even if he re-signs with Charlotte, they are at best among the bottom/middle-of-the-pack squads fighting for one of the last remaining playoff spots. 

Even with Irving likely headed to Brooklyn and Horford expected to sign on with another team, Boston still has a better present and future than the Hornets. 

And for Walker, that’s something he has to take notice of. 

Throw in the fact that his best days as a basketball player came in New England as the leader of UConn’s 2011 National Championship team — the team that beat Brad Stevens and Butler in the national title game that year — and you have a recipe for the Celtics to at least have a shot at making a strong case for Walker to walk away from Charlotte. 

And when you look back at the comments Danny Ainge made after the introduction of the team’s most recent draft picks on Monday, the talk about being humble, doing what’s best for the team, yada-yada-yada… it sounds like he was checking off a lot of the boxes associated with Walker.

Of course it is a long shot in every sense of the word that Boston can convince Walker to leave that amount of money on the table for a chance to be part of the Celtics’ next wave of title contenders. 

But for Walker, knowing in his heart of hearts that this season will likely end the way most have for him if he goes back to Charlotte — with no playoff appearance — Boston’s chances, while slim, are very real nonetheless. 


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Celtics will return to limited practice routine starting June 1

Celtics will return to limited practice routine starting June 1

The Boston Celtics will move one step closer towards preparing for the remainder of this season, with voluntary individual player workouts beginning at the team’s practice facility on June 1. 

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Friday that professional teams in the state could resume practicing soon. 

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“I know we still aren’t to the point where we’ll have our pro sports teams back playing anything yet,” Baker said in a press conference at the State House. “The leagues are obviously working hard to host games again. And I think we all hope that at some point, opening practice facilities will help make that happen a little sooner.”

Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations, echoed similar sentiments on Friday. 

“We’re happy that our players will now have the option to work out individually in a safe environment at the Auerbach Center,” Ainge said. “And we hope it signals a step back towards playing basketball again.”

The Celtics added that the workouts will adhere to strict protocols that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Workouts are voluntary & will be conducted in strict accordance with city, state, CDC, and NBA requirements and guidelines.
  • Symptom and temperature checks will be done by team medical staff before anyone enters the facility.
  • Workouts will be limited to individual (1-on-0) shooting, strength and conditioning work, and medical evaluation and therapy as needed.
  • Only essential areas will be accessed. There will be no access to locker rooms, showers, hydrotherapy, medical exam rooms, cafeteria, and offices.
  • Only four players will be able to work out at a time, each working with only one staff member at a time. There will be no more than one player per half court at a time.
  • All staff members will wear masks in the building, and any staff member working with a player must wear gloves. Players will wear masks except while engaging in physical activity. Players and staff will adhere to CDC and NBA compliant social distancing standards at all times.
  • Social distancing will be required in the building except in limited specific instances  (e.g. physical therapy), when PPE will be used.
  • A thorough cleaning and disinfection of all spaces and equipment, including basketballs, will take place before and after each player uses the building.
  • Only staff members essential to these workouts will be present at the Auerbach Center. There will be no access for general staff, public, or media. 

While no definitive date has been set for the NBA to resume play, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has reportedly told owners that the league is targeting July 31 as a return-to-play date. 

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NBA rumors: July 31 is a target date for 2019-20 season return

NBA rumors: July 31 is a target date for 2019-20 season return

Could we see the return of NBA basketball at the end of July?

The Athletic's Shams Charania has reported the league told its Board of Governors on Friday that July 31 is a potential target date for the resumption of the 2019-20 season.

Charania also reported the league discussed four return to play scenarios ranging from going directly to the playoffs with 16 teams to bringing back all 30 teams and having them play 72 regular season games (most teams already have played around 65) before the postseason. The latter scenario doesn't seem likely, though.

If the season does resume, the remaining games (including the playoffs) could be played at one location to minimize travel and maximize the safety and health of players, team employees and everyone else involved. One such location reportedly being considered is Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida.

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It's important to remember nothing has been announced by the league, and plenty of details must be sorted out before games can start up again. This news of a potential target date for a season return is encouraging, though.