Celtics Trade Kemba Walker, First-Round Pick to Thunder

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The Celtics are trading Kemba Walker, the No. 16 pick in the 2021 NBA draft and a future second-round pick to the Thunder, the team announced Friday.

Oklahoma City is sending Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round pick back to Boston. 

Walker signed a four-year contract worth $140 million prior to the 2019-20 season, but struggled with injuries throughout his tenure, playing in just 99 total games in two years. Last season, as the Celtics finished just 36-36 and recorded their lowest winning percentage since 2014-15, Walker averaged just 19.3 points per game on 42% shooting from the field. Both were lowest totals since his 2014-15 when he was still with Charlotte. 

Walker still has two years remaining on his contract, and is set to be paid more than $36 million next season and $37 million in the 2022-23 season. The decision to trade Walker to Oklahoma City also marks the first deal in Brad Stevens' tenure as team president, as the C's former coach moved to the front-office following the team's playoff exit.

“Kemba is a true professional and a great teammate and player,” Stevens said in a statement. “I want to thank him for his tremendous impact, and the positive contribution he’s made both to the Celtics and the City of Boston.”

Horford returns to Boston as part of the agreement. 

"Back Home! Grateful for this opportunity. Unfinished business. Go Celtics!," Horford wrote in an Instagram post upon news of the trade.

The 35-year-old center signed a four-year deal worth $109 million with the 76ers in the same year that Walker initially joined Boston. However, Horford struggled to fit with Philadelphia in his lone season with the franchise and was eventually traded to Oklahoma City last offseason. 

This season, Horford played just 28 games. He left the team in March after the Thunder could not find a trade partner for the aging forward. 

“Al played a critical role both on and off the court during his time in Boston, and we’re excited to welcome he and his family back to the Celtics,” Stevens said. “His ability to elevate teammates with his experience and leadership make for a great addition.”

Brown, 21, started 32 games for the Thunder this past season, averaging 8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game. 

The first-round pick that the Celtics are sending Oklahoma City gives the Thunder three first-round picks in the upcoming draft. As a function of finishing the year with a 22-50 record, the Thunder also have an 11.5% chance of getting this year's No. 1 pick.

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