It’s official: Kemba Walker will be a Boston Celtic, while Terry Rozier will replace him in Charlotte. Meanwhile, Danny Ainge is maneuvering for a chance to bring back Al Horford – but it appears Al may not want that.
NBA free agency officially started at 6 p.m. Eastern time, and it was immediately a wild ride, due to the news that Rozier would become a Hornet – not directly, but via sign-and-trade. Various capologists had speculated in the past 24 hours that Ainge might pursue a three-way sign-and-trade in order to preserve cap space and Bird rights to re-sign not just Horford, but also Mook Morris.
Here’s a timeline of today’s developments via tweets from the media.
Just as Celtics fans started getting excited that Boston could retain Horford, we got splashed with some cold water.
There’s been no immediate news about what Horford is thinking, what teams may have approached him, or even whether he has changed his mind and wants to remain a Celtic. It will be terribly disappointing if Al leaves, but even so, getting the three-way trade done can only help Boston. From MassLive:
The Celtics could still have access to the full mid-level exception by executing the sign-and-trade, which would make all of these gymnastics worthwhile. The full MLE would give Boston just under $10 million per year to offer big men on the market — a major upgrade over the $4.76 room exception Boston would get after simply signing Kemba Walker into cap space. That type of money could be the difference in signing someone like Kevon Looney, who can defend the rim and switch on the perimeter.
News from across the league is popping every minute, so much of this is subject to change. In just the first hour, here are some other breaking stories that affect the Celtics:
- Kevin Durant is going to Brooklyn with Kyrie Irving (ugh!).
- Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are staying in Milwaukee, but Malcolm Brogdon is going to Indiana in a trade for draft picks.
- Bojan Bogdanovic is leaving the Pacers for Utah.
- Detroit is signing Derrick Rose.
- JJ Redick has bolted from Philadelphia to New Orleans.