Kemba Walker and Brad Stevens did not end on a good note as reports of dysfunction surface at the Boston Celtics locker room.
The Boston Celtics bid their final adieu to Kemba walker as he got traded to OKC Thunder. While there are questions about the deal, Walker getting traded was inevitable.
The Celtics were in search of suitors ahead of the draft but there were no takers. So they waited for his long rehab program, thinking that it would help him get back to form.
Walker returned, but he was still not able to feature in back to back matches. While things looked good again for the 3time All-Star he injured his knee against the Nets in the Playoffs. Hence the Celtics needed to add their 16th overall pick to offload Walker and his huge contract.
Walker, with all his injury concerns and troubles, still put up good numbers last season. He was a player who was loved by his teammates and fans for the positivity that he brings to the roster.
But sources have suggested that there were issues in the Celtics locker room. The relationship between Walker and Brad Stevens had soured. It is mostly because Stevens was more aggressive with some players including Walker this season. The veteran point guard was criticized for his defensive mistakes, while the others were treated differently despite having an off day.
Despite all of this he maintained a professional relationship with Stevens throughout the season. He lost his patience when the fans greeted him with boos at TD for his health issues and the team’s poor form. That was the moment when he said that he would like to move away from Boston.
The players welcomed a coach change as they lost their trust in Brad Stevens as he could not hold players accountable.
Now with Walker gone, there are high chances Marcus Smart will start as a point guard. He was someone who wanted to create defensive accountability in this team. With Al Horford joining, Smart will have company in defence.
But some sources suggest that Smart was the only one interested in the accountability as his teammates tuned him out. He also had a heated confrontation with Jaylen Brown after the 2020 East Conference Finals.
The Celtics’ dysfunction reached the point that Blake Griffin asked a friend on the roster if he should sign midseason & was warned to stay away, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA.
Inside the events around the inevitable break up of Kemba Walker & the Celtics: https://t.co/LZ4kMFmoFr
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) June 19, 2021
Smart has been with the Celtics for 7 years now and hence he is very close to Brad Stevens and even with Danny Ainge. Hence there were rumours of favoritism from Stevens last season. The overall environment around the franchise and the lack of pride was startling.
The Celtics’ culture of competition is at risk. Hence when Nets’ star Blake Griffin asked a Celtics player that whether he should join Boston and was told not to come. It was mainly because of the dysfunction that was very evident at the front office.
Sources close to the team also suggest that several players wanted a coach change. The players did not trust Stevens and his methods coupled with his favoritism for Smart. They want someone who was a prior experience of playing in the NBA.
At this point, more than putting the right personnel on the floor the Celtics need to rebuild their culture. The culture of competition of which they are proud of. It will excite the players and instil a feeling of oneness as they become a part of the Celtics.