Report: Celtics, Nets, Hornets discussing sign-and-trade with Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Terry Rozier
Kyrie Irving is reportedly set to leave the Celtics for the Nets. Al Horford also made clear he was done with Boston. So, the Celtics were planning to use the resulting cap space on Kemba Walker, which would push out Terry Rozier.
But what if Horford wants to stay in Boston?
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:
There are some league executives that believe the "mystery team" for Al Horford is...the Boston Celtics.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 30, 2019
But keeping Horford's rights would require a number of complicated maneuvers, including a double sign-and-trade involving Kemba Walker and Terry Rozier. It wouldn't be easy. https://t.co/dCfSQcaEc4
Sam Amick of The Athletic:
The Al Horford situation has been very tricky to figure out, but one team that I'm told has very real interest is Philly (moving parts there obviously with their own free agents, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris)— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 30, 2019
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Sources: Boston's showing interest in a 3-team sign-and-trade w/ Kyrie Irving (Nets), Kemba Walker (Celtics) and Terry Rozier (Hornets). Boston wants to create a full MLE and would likely need to surrender at least a first-round pick to Nets. So far, talks are exploratory.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2019
Acquiring Walker in a sign-and-trade would allow the Celtics to remain over the cap. They could keep Horford’s cap hold on the books then use his Bird Rights to re-sign him. They’d also have access to the mid-level exception.
By losing Walker, the Hornets will get breathing room below the luxury tax. But they’d still be over the cap, leaving the $9,258,000 mid-level exception to sign outside free agents. Trading for Rozier could give Charlotte a better point guard than the mid-level exception would draw.
The big challenge will be getting Brooklyn to participate. They have enough cap space to sign Irving outright. Doing a sign-and-trade would help an Eastern Conference competitor. The Nets will need significant draft picks as enticement.
Even if the Celtics offer that and handle the base-year-compensation issues with Irving, Rozier and Walker (which is why both Irving and Rozier would have to be involved), Boston would be hard-capped this season. A team that acquires a player in a sign-and-trade is hard-capped at $138,928,000. The Celtics could sign Walker and Horford and keep their team salary below that threshold, but there’s not much breathing room.