Boston Celtics: Does a Kemba Walker Trade Make Sense?


In the wake of some pretty stellar performances, many Boston Celtics fans are once again back on the Kemba Walker train. 

Photo courtesy of Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Although the veteran guard has gotten a lot of love over the past week or so, it was hard to escape some of the prior calls on social media for Walker to be shipped out of Boston by the trade deadline. 

There was even one tweet that suggested the Celtics trade Walker for a McChicken and a medium Coke.  Even though the tweet was clearly parody, you would hope Danny Ainge could at least swing a large Coke from another team if the deal was to actually be done.

The former first round pick missed the start of the season due to a stem-cell injection into his left knee back in October.  He made his return on Jan. 17 in an absolutely brutal 30-point loss against the Knicks.  Walker was clearly rusty, posting just nine points, four assists and three rebounds.  He struggled to find any rhythm shooting the ball, going 3-for-13 from the field and just 1-for-8 from 3-point range. 

But after all, it was only one game, and you cannot put too much stock into a guy's first NBA game in four months, especially when you take into consideration he just had major treatment on a nagging injury. 

His first game aside, January still proved to be an ugly month for Walker.  In the six games he played, he shot 37% from the field and 29% from deep.  Boston went 1-5 and suffered a heartbreaking one-point loss against the Lakers to close the month, a game in which Walker went 1-for-12 from the field. 

With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both playing at a high level, fans had hoped Walker would get back into the swing of things and that February would bring better days. 

It wouldn't. 

The Celtics found themselves dipping under .500 and out of playoff contention towards the latter half of the month and Walker had posted some pretty abysmal performances. 

He went 4-for-20 from the field against Phoenix, followed that performance with a 2-for-12 showing against Utah, posted 16 turnovers in a four-game span from Feb. 11 to Feb. 19 and most notably was caught smiling after Boston blew a 24-point lead against the Pelicans.  Fans did not take that one well at all, especially considering Walker hit just one of 12 threes and scored just 14 points on 21 shot attempts. 

Following the game against New Orleans, Cardiac Kemba has started to look like the version of himself that so many fans grew accustomed to when he was in Charlotte.  Over the past four games, Walker is averaging 24.8 points, 5.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and is shooting 45% from the field and 43% from behind the arc. 

Walker might finally be starting to put the pieces back together, which is why Boston should seriously be considering including him in a trade package prior to the March 25 deadline. 

It was announced Thursday morning that the Celtics are interested in Pistons forward Jerami Grant and Magic center Nikola Vucevic.  Grant is in the midst of the best year of his career, and Vucevic is the type of big man that Boston has been dreaming about for the better part of the last seven or so years. 

Both would be beautiful fits in Boston, but chances are the price to pay for either of them is not going to be cheap. 

At the end of the day, the fact of the matter is that Tatum and Brown are the only untouchables on this team.  Walker has been efficient as of late, but fans have been longing for Ainge to make a move in order to make this team better and there might be no better time than now to pull the trigger. 

As much as it might hurt to hear, Walker is perhaps the best trade asset this team has.  If the Celtics wanted to bring Grant or Vucevic to Beantown without giving up a large sum of young talent, Walker is going to need to be involved in the deal.  There would likely still have to be one more player involved and perhaps one or two draft picks, but Boston would still be able to hang on to more of those potentially crucial future contributors like Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford, Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard. 

It is also important to think about Walker's knee injury that was treated back in October.  Although everything appears to be fixed, you never know when something like that could flare up again.  

His knee has held up thus far, but will it be able to make it through the entire season?  Will it be able to get him through 82 games in addition to a playoff run in future seasons?  Only time will tell, but if the answer to either one of those questions is no, who knows what the implications are for the Celtics as they feverishly chase their 18th banner. 

By no means is Walker washed up or past his prime.  At 30 years old, he truly does still have some good basketball left in him.  But sometimes, in order to bring in the big fish, you have to use your best bait. 

Follow Nick on Twitter: @thenickgalle

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Boston Celtics: Does a Kemba Walker Trade Make Sense?
Boston Celtics: Does a Kemba Walker Trade Make Sense?
Boston Sports Syndicate
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