The Boston Celtics are sending point guard Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade that will shed the two years and $73 million left on his contract off the books, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Boston is also dealing the No. 16 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and a 2025 second-round choice while receiving center Al Horford, 21-year-old center Moses Brown and a 2023 second-rounder.
The Associated Press confirmed the agreed-upon deal.
It’s the first trade by Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, who moved off the bench as head coach and into an executive role to replace Danny Ainge after Boston’s season ended with a first-round playoff exit.
While Horford’s deal also runs through the 2022-23 season, the difference between his contract and Walker’s runs close to $10 million per year. That is before considering Walker’s $36.7 million guaranteed in 2022-23 compared to Horford’s partially guaranteed deal of $14.5 million ($26.5 million at the full amount).
Horford made an All-Star team last in 2018 as a member of the Celtics.
The 35-year-old center averaged 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists over 28 games last season but was shut down as Oklahoma City played younger players and worked with him to find a landing spot.
Boston’s trade also gets the return of the 7-foot-2 Brown, who averaged 8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds with 1.1 blocks over 21.4 minutes per game in his second NBA season.
The move for the Thunder gives the team three first-round picks in the upcoming draft.
Walker is coming off an injury-plagued year in which he appeared in 43 of 72 regular season games while dealing with knee problems. The 31-year-old point guard averaged 19.3 points and 4.9 assists in the regular season.
He also missed the final two postseason games for Boston.
It’s presumed he could now spend his tenure with Oklahoma City working to get healthy while looking beyond his tenure with the young Thunder, just like Horford did last season and current Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul the year before.