Celtics

NBA Rumors: Bucks "breathed a sigh of relief" when Celtics emerged as frontrunner for Kemba Walker

NBA Rumors: Bucks "breathed a sigh of relief" when Celtics emerged as frontrunner for Kemba Walker

The last two weeks were rough for the Celtics. Kyrie Irving's departure to Brooklyn became a near certainty and Al Horford's contract negotiations to return to Boston came to an abrupt end, resulting in Horford's expected exit to a team willing to offer him a four-year deal worth up to $112 million

Now that the NBA Draft has concluded and the Celtics' front office got a chance to position themselves for free agency, they responded by seemingly locking up free agent point guard Kemba Walker. Early Thursday morning, Boston emerged as frontrunners to secure Walker on a four-year, $141 million contract after he hit a stalemate with the Hornets. 

Signing Walker to the reported max-contract would take up almost all of the cap space freed up if they renounce their rights to Irving, Horford, Terry Rozier, Brad Wanamaker and Jonathan Gibson and officially complete the trade to send Aron Baynes to Phoneix. This would seemingly take them out of the running for any notable free agent on the market, including Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon. 

A report earlier this week suggested that "chatter was building" around the Celtics' interest in making a sizeable offer sheet to Brogdon, who's a restricted free agent. If the offer sheet was large enough, it would force the Bucks to decide to match a bigger contract they expected or let him walk altogether. According to Zach Lowe, the Bucks "breathed a sigh of relief" when the Celtics became frontrunners for Walker (via Sagar Trika). 

"I think Milwaukee has a number that's too high for them," Lowe said on JJ Redick's podcast. "They're sitting there getting scared about where that number's going to come from. And they breathed a sigh of relief today when Boston emerged as the frontrunners for Kemba Walker, which I think is real and not fake. I don't think that's Kemba Walker's agent trying to leverage Charlotte into a bigger offer."

Taking a productive player like Brogdon away from an East rival would have been a shrewd move from Danny Ainge, but securing a player like Walker should and seemingly is Boston's priority in free agency. Lowe also reaffirms the belief that Walker is Boston-bound, so Celtics fans should get ready for yet another All-Star level point guard playing on the parquet. Maybe this one will last more than two seasons. 

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Kendrick Perkins: We just have to continue to use our voices

Kendrick Perkins: We just have to continue to use our voices

Over the last few days, we've seen several notable athletes take to the streets to protest George Floyd's murder and the racial injustices that continue to plague the country.

Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown led the charge on Saturday, driving 15 hours from Boston to Atlanta to organize a peaceful protest with fellow NBAer Malcolm Brogdon.

Brown's Celtics teammates Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter, and Vincent Poirier followed suit on Sunday with a peaceful protest in Boston, showing the tremendous impact athletes can have on their communities when they let their voices be heard.

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Monday on Early Edition, former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins discussed how Brown and other athletes affect social change when they decide to speak up.

"We just gotta continue to use our voices. We can't change racism overnight, but we can change the system, and our voices need to be heard. It don't matter what race you come from. It's just speak what's right, and stand on what you believe in. It's leading by example.

"When you look at even a guy like Stephen Jackson who I think set the bar, and then all of a sudden Jaylen Brown who's a younger guy in this league say, 'Oh, if Stephen Jackson is out here, a retired player, and he's standing on the frontline, then let me do it. And then all of a sudden, guess what, Jaylen Brown, he influenced Enes Kanter. It's a chain reaction, so whether you're a veteran or a young guy, that don't matter. It's just about taking a stand and taking a trend."

As Perkins notes, when one player finds the courage to speak up, it starts a chain reaction. Some may hesitate to use their voice in fear of the backlash they may receive, but now more than ever it's important to put that fear aside and stand up for what's right.

There's no doubt Brown's admirable actions influenced other athletes and public figures to take a stand, and that's something we should start to see more of in our society.

You can watch the full interview with Perkins below:

Brad Stevens breaks Twitter silence to endorse need for change after George Floyd's death

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USA TODAY Sports

Brad Stevens breaks Twitter silence to endorse need for change after George Floyd's death

Brad Stevens isn't very active on Twitter. In fact, his last tweet before Monday came during March Madness in 2017 when his former team, Butler University, was making its NCAA Tournament run.

Stevens broke his three-year Twitter silence Monday morning with two tweets, both of which stressed the importance of making real change to combat racial injustice in America following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

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The first tweet from Stevens was his support of the NBA Coaches Association's statement on Floyd's death.

The second tweet was a message from Stevens regarding former President Barack Obama's article that he wrote for Medium titled, "How to Make This Moment The Turning Point For Real Change.” 

Boston Celtics players have taken an active role over the last week in calling for change and engaging in peaceful protests.

Celtics guard and Georgia native Jaylen Brown made the long drive from Boston to Atlanta to lead a peaceful protest Saturday. Celtics centers Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier, and guard Marcus Smart also joined protesters in Boston on Sunday.

The Celtics released their own statement Sunday, which included the following passage: "We stand with our players, employees, partners, and fans in being committed to championing the change we need.”