Basketball

Grading the Kemba Walker Trade

The Oklahoma City Thunder have made yet another trade in their attempt to build draft equity. This time they have made a deal with the Boston Celtics. The Thunder receive the #16 overall pick in this year’s draft, a 2nd round pick in 2025 and Kemba Walker in exchange for Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a 2nd round pick in 2023. 

Boston Celtics Trade Grade: C+

The Celtics were able to move off of Kemba Walker’s large contract but took on another large contract in Al Horford. Horford is making his return to Boston which will be nice to have a familiar face in the locker room again. The trade came as a bit of a surprise for Boston as they moved on from Kemba Walker after only 2 seasons. The Celtics didn’t see Walker as impactful as he was with Charlotte and wanted to make room for Tatum’s max extension coming up. The Celtics were smart to do this as Tatum is the future of the franchise, but their haul in return for moving on from Walker who was costing them a pretty penny was fairly dismal. The Celtics could have gotten a better deal elsewhere. 

Oklahoma City Thunder Trade Grade: A-

The Thunder have now acquired their 3rd pick in the first round of the 2021 draft. With 2 of those picks being likely top 5 picks, the Thunder are 100% invested in the process. The Sixers trusted the process and it led to them being one of the best in the East. The Thunder are building their future through the draft and the young talent to come. The Thunder were able to move Al Horford and acquire a better veteran player in Kemba Walker in the process. We don’t expect the Thunder to keep Walker long at all. The Thunder might use him during the beginning of the season to build up his trade interest and show he still has it after his knee injuries to then trade for a team looking to make a playoff run in 2022. This was a great trade for the Thunder as they received a top pick and a potential for more picks with a temporary veteran presence to help lead their current roster.

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