Celtics

NBA Rumors: Celtics expected to offer Kemba Walker this contract as 'No. 1 priority'

NBA Rumors: Celtics expected to offer Kemba Walker this contract as 'No. 1 priority'

The Boston Celtics reportedly are pushing all of their chips onto Kemba Walker's table.

The Celtics are expected to offer the Charlotte Hornets point guard a four-year, $141 million maximum contract once free agency begins this Sunday, June 30, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday.

Wojnarowski, who reported earlier the Celtics were the "frontrunner" to sign Walker, added the 29-year-old is Boston's "No. 1 priority" in free agency, and that Walker is "increasingly likely" to accept the Celtics' max-contract deal.

The Hornets in theory could offer Walker a five-year, $221 million "supermax" contract -- $81 million more than the Celtics can offer -- but The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Thursday morning that Walker's talks with Charlotte have reached a "stalemate," suggesting the Hornets weren't willing to pay up for their All-Star point guard.

The Celtics would have to renounce their rights to pending free agents Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier (restricted) to free up money to sign Walker, but it appears they're fully prepared to do so.

UPDATE (2:10 p.m. ET): Stephen A. Smith reported Thursday afternoon on ESPN that Charlotte offered Walker a five-year contract "somewhere in the ballpark of $160-plus million," about $60 million less than the supermax.

"My sources tell me that Kemba Walker has informed the Charlotte Hornets and Michael Jordan he doesn’t want to be there," Smith added. "... Kemba Walker is going to be a Boston Celtic."

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Enes Kanter Show podcast: Back from break healthy, preparing for boos in Utah

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Enes Kanter Show podcast: Back from break healthy, preparing for boos in Utah

It's a 28-game dash to the playoffs for the Boston Celtics that begins in Minnesota Friday night and Enes Kanter is focused on one key element as the C's return to the court for the first time since the weeklong All-Star break.

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"Please stay healthy," the Celtics big man told Chris Forsberg on the latest episode of The Enes Kanter Show podcast. "If we all stay healthy, we can beat every team on every floor."

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When we last saw Kanter, he was limping off the floor late in the C's double-overtime victory over the Clippers. He's been bothered by a hip injury but he said he'll be good to go Friday. 

Also on the mend from a hip issue is fellow big man Robert Williams. Though he won't play on Boston's upcoming four-game trip, Williams has had his practice restrictions lifted and Kanter liked what he saw Wednesday as the C's got back to work.

"Rob was amazing. He can change the game,"  Kanter told Forsberg."He hasn't played for like two months and he got a lob and dunked the ball on his first possession. This is special. He just needs to get into game shape."

Kanter also talked about his 1-on-1 battles in practice with Marcus Smart. 

"It's always good because now the NBA is going small, right?" the 6-10 Kanter said of matching up with the 6-3 guard.  "Marcus Smart is one of the best, if not THE best defender out there. When I go against him, I get better. To be able to go against a small guy and try to guard him, it makes him better and makes me better."

Forsberg captured a portion of their showdown on video:

I always try to get under his skin," Kanter said of Smart, "but he's tough mentally."

This trip takes Kanter and the Celtics to Utah, where his NBA career began from 2011-2015. Will he get a warm welcome from Jazz fans?

"I wonder who's going to get more booed me or [Celtics forward and ex-Jazz star] Gordon [Hayward]? Every time I touch the ball, I get booed there," Kanter said.

Because Hayward is a more recent departure, Kanter said he might be able to escape most of the fans' wrath.

"I feel good this time because I've got Gordon."

Check out the Enes Kanter Show each week on NBC Sports Boston Podcast network. 

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves, which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.

Robert Williams travels with Celtics, but won't play on four-game trip

Robert Williams travels with Celtics, but won't play on four-game trip

BOSTON -- There’s a good chance that at some point on Celtics Pregame Live on NBC Sports Boston before the game Friday in Minnesota, viewers will see Robert Williams III on the floor taking shots. 

Don’t get too excited, Celtics fans. 

Yes, Time Lord will be traveling with the team, and yes, that gimpy hip of his is feeling a lot better. 

But coach Brad Stevens says Williams won’t be playing at any point on the four-game trip. 

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Still, that he'll be with the team is the kind of progress that indicates his return to games is sooner rather than later. 

Stevens said Williams will another check-up in about a week to make sure that the physical activity that he’s doing between now and then, has not had an adverse effect on his hip which has kept him sidelined for the last 33 games. 

“I’m getting anxious, just knowing I’m a couple of games away,” said Williams. “My first game back, I think is a home game,  so it’s special to me.”

Boston embarks on a four-game trip beginning with Minnesota on Friday, followed by stops in Los Angeles to play the Lakers, then Portland and Utah. The Celtics' next home game is Feb. 29 against the Houston Rockets. 

With no restrictions now at practices, Williams readily admits it can be challenging to contain himself.

“They let me [be] free now, no limitations on anything I’m doing,” Williams said. “So, I want to windmill every time I dunk. But I still have to play it cautious a little bit.”

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves, which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.