The Boston Celtics have wasted little time reshaping their roster during this pivotal offseason for the franchise.
New team president of basketball operations Brad Stevens made his first major trade Friday. He sent point guard Kemba Walker, a 2021 first-round draft pick (No. 16 overall) and a 2025 second-rounder to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for centers Al Horford and Moses Brown, as well as a 2023 second-round pick.
The move has been met with almost unanimous praise for the Celtics, including from one of their former players, Kendrick Perkins.
Perkins gave his stamp of approval during an appearance on ESPN's "First Take" Friday morning.
“Oh, I love it. I see Brad (Stevens) making power moves as soon as he steps foot in the office,” Perkins said. “I love it, and here’s why. He’s telling Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, ‘This is your team.’ Now you don’t have to worry about can Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, can they play together? Who’s going to share the ball? How can you make this work? We don’t have to worry about that. Bringing back Al Horford was huge. He’s loved by the Celtics’ fans, he’s respected by the organization, but most importantly, he brings value to that team. He stretches the floor. He’s a great leader. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum love ‘Big Al.’"
Perkins also touched on the addition of Moses Brown. The 21-year-old center has shown plenty of promise in his brief career, including a March 27 game against the Celtics earlier this year when he scored 17 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in the first half.
“Here’s a teaching point to all the young guys out there who are on auditioning roles right now in the G League, in the NBA that are trying to get jobs in the NBA or trying to stay in the NBA," Perkins said.
"Moses Brown played with the Oklahoma City Thunder and he had 21 points and 23 rebounds (against the Celtics). You know who was coaching at the time? Brad Stevens. So he says, ‘You know what? Let me snag this young fella.’ He’s a good center, he’s going to put pressure on Robert Williams to perform. Rob has a history of being injured. I love this move by Brad Stevens. Celtics Nation should be proud. Beantown, stand up.”
The Celtics have lots of work remaining in the offseason to build a roster capable of making a deep run in the 2022 NBA playoffs. Among the team's biggest needs are a veteran point guard, outside shooting and scoring off the bench.
The Walker trade was a good first step, though. There's no doubt about that.