We have ourselves an NBA blockbuster.
The Boston Celtics traded Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a blockbuster deal Friday. Here are the terms of the trade:
Celtics receive: Al Horford, Moses Brown, 2023 second-round pick
Thunder receive: Kemba Walker, 2021 first-round pick (No. 16), 2025 second-round pick
The deal gives the Celtics financial flexibility in parting with Walker, who is owed $73 million over the next two years. Horford is owed $53.5 million over the final two years of his contract, but only $41.5 million of that is guaranteed, since only $14.5 million of his $26.5 million salary in 2022-23 salary is guaranteed.
Here's how Boston's cap space will change in 2021-22 after this trade:
2021-22 salary out: $36.6 million
2021-22 salary in: $28.7 million
Celtics' 2021-22 cap savings: $7.9 million
That number could bump up to $9.6 million if the C's don't retain Brown, whose $1.7 million salary for 2021-22 isn't guaranteed. Even if the team keeps Brown, new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens now has the resources to pursue a third star to pair with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who are the only two players on the roster whose contracts extend past 2022-23.
Boston paid a price for that cap flexibility in the form of their 2021 first-rounder and 2025 second-rounder. Here's a reset of their draft assets over the next three seasons after the deal:
Celtics draft picks
|2021||Second round (No. 45)|
|2022||First round, second round (to CHA if 56-60)|
|2023||First round, second round (via OKC)|
As for the Thunder? The rich just got richer. OKC now has three first-round picks in 2021 and a potential total of 18 first-rounders over the next five drafts.
Thunder draft picks
|2021||First round (No. 4, No. 16, No. 18), second round (No. 35, No. 36, No. 55)|
|2022||First round (Own, via LAC, via PHX), second round|
|2023||First round (Own, via MIA, LAC pick swap), second round (Own, DAL/MIA, WAS)|
|2024||First round (Own, via LAC, via HOU)|
|2025||First round (Own or HOU/LAC pick swap), second round (via BOS)|
So, this deal seems like a win-win: The Celtics get out from Walker's contract and save some cap space, while Thunder general manager Sam Presti adds two more draft assets to his massive collection.