The Boston Celtics welcome back Al Horford from Oklahoma City Thunder as Kemba Walker gets traded in exchange.
It was an eventful Friday morning for Brad Stevens as the Boston Celtics general manager. He pulled off his first trade where the Celtics acquired Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a 2023 second-round draft pick from the OKC Thunder in exchange for Kemba Walker, Boston’s 2021 first-round pick and its 2025 second-round pick.
While the trade did raise a few questions considering Kemba’s leadership and offensive panache. But it is a move that will benefit the team on several levels. In terms of leadership, Horford will take up that role in the locker room.
He has already played for the Celtics and hence he knows several players. Big Al brings that calm demeanour and is the perfect guy to groom youngsters. The 35-year-old is a versatile defender and can defend multiple positions something which the Celtics needed.
The Celtics also acquired a young talent in Moses Brown, he can be a bonus for the team in the center position. He is known for being a very athletic rebounder and a good interior scorer.
He dropped a career-high 21-point, 23-rebound performance against the Celtics this season. While Horford and Brown play the same position they bring different attributes to the team.
However, the Celtics need to fill the void left in the backcourt by the departure of Walker. They have ball handlers like Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard who are capable of making that position their own. But still, Stevens may be on the lookout to add another ball handler to the roster.
“They are going to be a top five team in the Eastern Conference”: Kendrick Perkins
Despite the departure of Kemba Walker, former NBA Champion and Analyst Kendrick Perkins feel that the duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown is among the top five in the NBA.
“They are going to be a top five team in the Eastern Conference. You know why when Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are healthy, they are arguably a top five if not a top three duo in the NBA. You can go and check the numbers.”
“They did not get that opportunity this season to play with each other. You had Tatum dealing with COVID issues. While Brown was dealing with knee issues, wrist injuries. So we only got to see a small sample size of this dynamic duo playing together.”
“When they are on the court you are talking about a position that general managers and coaches are begging for. Both of these guys have zero flaws feasibly and they buckle down on the defence.”
“Also, both of them are under the age of 25. Jayson Tatum has already arrived and Jaylen Brown continues to keep getting better every year. This Celtics team with few minor additions can be the best team in the Eastern Conference.”
“When Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are healthy, they’re arguably a top-five, if not a top-three, duo in the NBA! … [the Boston Celtics] might be the top team in the Eastern Conference come next year.”@KendrickPerkins likes the Kemba Walker trade for Boston. pic.twitter.com/BPRSn52yNk
— First Take (@FirstTake) June 18, 2021
It is true that both Tatum and Brown are exceptional talents and have already proven their potential. Hence Stevens should look to add a few utility pieces around them to elevate the quality of the supporting cast.