The Boston Celtics made a major effort to gain the necessary assets to acquire Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans— even including Kemba Walker in trade talks with teams like the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to The Athletic’s Zach Harper, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge ‘dangled’ Walker in trade talks with the Bulls and Cavaliers for a lottery pick to execute a trade for Holiday.
“League sources said Danny Ainge was trying to move Kemba Walker for a top 10 pick prior to the deadline,” Harper wrote. “He dangled Kemba in front of Chicago and Cleveland, but neither team bit on the offer. The goal was to get the fourth or fifth pick to then flip it to New Orleans for Holiday.”
Walker signed with the Celtics last offseason after spending all of his NBA career with the Charlotte Hornets. The hope was his explosive scoring ability would translate to Boston in the NBA playoffs to replace what Kyrie Irving brought to the table.
As it turned out, Walker was quite impactful throughout the NBA regular season. However, nagging knee injuries seemed to limit his effectiveness when it came to the playoffs— hurting the Celtics’ chances of advancing to the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics appeared to want to lean more on a defense-first mentality by attempting to swap Walker out in favor of Holiday. The ability to lock up the lead-guard of the opposing team throughout a playoff series while having a talent better at getting to the rim is a justifiable idea.
During the 2019-20 season, Kemba Walker produced averages of 20.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in 56 regular season appearances. His production was down from his final campaign with the Charlotte Hornets but that was expected to occur with the Boston Celtics.
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