It’s looking more and more likely Kemba Walker is going to join the Boston Celtics when free agency opens on Sunday.
The Winning Plays Podcast on CLNS Media did a deep dive into exactly what the Celtics are getting in Walker and whether he will be able to replace or possibly even be an upgrade over the soon to be departed Kyrie Irving.
Co-host Michael Pina is a major proponent of using cap space if it’s available and says Walker is as good a person as any to use it on.
“If they should choose to open up max cap space by renouncing [Terry] Rozier and Marcus Morris, and Kyrie [Irving] and [Al] Horford both leave,” said Pina. “I just think that I’ve said this a few times, just being as aggressive as possible this is the year to do it.”
Co-host Rich Levine agrees, Kemba is the perfect fit of any free agents the Celtics have a realistic chance of getting to come to Boston.
“He’s the only one that makes sense to me,” said Levine. “When we’re talking about Max guys. If you’re gonna go that route. He’s the perfect fit for this team right now.
“He reminds me in a lot of ways of how the Celtics used Isaiah Thomas a few years ago. A dynamic point guard who doesn’t necessarily need the ball in his hands all the time. Comfortable off the ball.”
Levine also thinks Walker can really change he culture back to what it was pre-Kyrie.
“From a personality standpoint he’s going to be everything you didn’t have with Kyrie. There are very few players who, I think, could have done what he (Kemba Walker) did the last 8 years, still continue to get better, still continue to be the consummate leader. I think he complements Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward perfectly.”
“He’s the only one that makes sense to me. When we’re talking about Max guys. If you’re gonna go that route. He’s the perfect fit for this team right now.”
As for where Walker actually improves the Celtics, Brian Robb from the Boston Sports Journal pointed out a couple things Kemba clearly does better than Kyrie lacked.
“Two things stuck out for me,” said Robb. “Number one, with Kemba, guess how many games he’s missed in the last four years? Only six.”
By comparison, Kyrie Irving has missed 76 regular season games during the same time span.
“The other number that stuck out to me with Kemba,” said Robb. “just beyond the usual is where he ranked in free throw attempts in the league last year. 5.5 per game for a 6’1″ guard especially given where the Celtics were in that department, definitely something he does much better than Kyrie.”
For reference Irving ranked 47th (3.75/game).