The Boston Celtics' pursuit of All-Star point guard Kemba Walker in NBA free agency is serious, according to reports Tuesday.
The New York Times' Marc Stein reported Tuesday the Celtics were emerging as a "stealth suitor" for the Charlotte Hornets guard, who will be an unrestricted free agent beginning June 30. Stein added more reporting regarding the Celtics and Walker in another tweet later Tuesday afternoon.
We can scratch "stealth." Boston and Dallas are at the front of the line that will be trying to lure Kemba Walker away from Charlotte, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 25, 2019
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer termed the Celtics' interest in Walker as "serious."
Two NBA sources confirm @TheSteinLine report that Celtics are seriously interested in @KembaWalker. I doubt the Hornets put this thing to bed pre-emptively when free-agency opens June 30. Plenty of suitors, and I assume Kemba will listen to all the pitches.— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) June 25, 2019
The Celtics will be in need of a top-tier point guard if Kyrie Irving leaves Boston in free agency, and recent reports (as well as the latest betting odds) indicate the Brooklyn Nets are the most likely destination for him. Boston could always re-sign restricted free agent Terry Rozier, but Walker is a clear upgrade over the Celtics' backup point guard.
Walker was an All-Star starter last season (his first ASG appearance) and averaged a career-high 25.6 points in 82 games for the Hornets. He is eligible for a super-max contract extension with the Hornets that would be worth more than $200 million over five seasons. That's a lot of money, but the Hornets are nowhere near a legitimate NBA title contender, so Charlotte would not be the best option for him if winning is very important.
The Mavericks reportedly are a contender to sign Celtics forward Al Horford, who's also an unrestricted free agent. Luka Doncic, the newly crowned 2018-19 Rookie of the Year Award winner, handled the ball a lot for the Mavs last season, but he's not a true point guard. A Walker-Doncic-Kristaps Porzingis trio for the Mavericks could help them compete in what should be a wide open Western Conference title race next season as a result of the Golden State Warriors being decimated by injuries.
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