Celtics

Which team would benefit most from acquiring Kemba Walker?

Celtics

After two years, Kemba Walker's time with the Boston Celtics may have run its course.

The C's are expected to attempt to trade the 31-year-old point guard, who's owed $73.7 million over the next two seasons, at some point this summer. Walker has dealt with nagging knee injuries since signing with the Celtics in 2019 and was forced to miss the second game of all of Boston's back-to-backs in 2020-21. He averaged 19.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 43 games.

Forsberg: Is a Kemba trade the right move for Celtics?

So, which team would be the best fit for Walker if he does move on? Our partners at Strat-O-Matic simulated Walker's 2021-22 season with eight different teams, and the results were interesting.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Walker saw most of his success in the simulations with teams that failed to make the playoffs in 2021. In OKC, he returned to All-Star form with numbers reminiscent of his days in Charlotte. Walker finished his season with the Thunder tallying 24.9 ppg and 5.5 apg while averaging 33.6 minutes.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Another place where Walker thrives with a non-contender. As Cleveland's starting point guard, Walker averaged 21.3 ppg and 4.8 apg with 31.8 minutes per contest. Similar numbers to Walker's 2020-21 campaign in Boston, when he also averaged 31.8 minutes per game.

Best landing spots

Kemba in OKC
24.9 ppg, 5.5 apg
Kemba in NOLA
21.3 ppg, 5.9 apg

New Orleans Pelicans

In simulation No. 3, Walker joined Zion Williamson in New Orleans and saw some success. Walker averaged 32 minutes per game with the Pelicans while putting up 21.3 ppg and 5.9 apg.

New York Knicks

Now for the teams that made early exits in the 2021 NBA playoffs and are looking for that one missing piece of the puzzle. Walker to the Knicks would be an intriguing storyline as the Bronx, NY native has had his fair share of highlight-reel moments at Madison Square Garden. So, how would he fare on his hometown team?

 

In the Knicks simulation, Walker sees his numbers take a slight dip down to 19.1 ppg and 4.3 ast in 31.1 minutes.

Dallas Mavericks

How about pairing Walker with Luka Doncic in Dallas? According to Strat-O-Matic, it might not be the best fit. Walker ended up with 16.2 ppg, 3.6 apg and only 25.8 minutes per game in the Mavs simulation.

Portland Trail Blazers

Walker sees an even bigger dip in playing time with Portland. With only 22.1 minutes per game, Walker puts up 15.5 ppg with 3.5 apg for a Trail Blazers team struggling to take the next step with stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Not the right fit

Kemba in PHX
14.9 ppg, 3.8 apg
Kemba in POR
15.5 ppg, 3.5 apg

Phoenix Suns

It doesn't look like the Western Conference Finals-bound Suns would be the best fit for Walker next season. With Phoenix, Walker averaged less points (14.9) than he did with any other team in the simulation. He added 3.8 assists per game in 22.3 minutes.

Los Angeles Clippers

If Walker is going to land with a true contender, perhaps the Clippers would be the best possible fit. With L.A., Walker fared much better than he did in Phoenix with a solid 19.0 ppg and 4.8 apg with 30.7 minutes per contest.