New president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has made his first move for the Celtics, agreeing to a trade that will send point guard Kemba Walker and the No. 16 overall pick to the Thunder, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
In return, the Celtics are bringing back forward/center Al Horford as part of package that also includes center Moses Brown and a 2023 second-rounder, Wojnarowski reported. Boston is also sending a 2025 second-rounder to OKC.
As Wojnarowski noted, the Celtics now get out from the under the $73 million owed to Walker, something they seemed determined to do since the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Thunder general manager Sam Presti has a history of bringing in proven veterans to help lead the younger players, and Walker certainly fits that description. The Thunder have the fourth-best odds to win Tuesday’s lottery.
Walker, 31, averaged 19.3 points and 4.9 assists in 43 regular-season games. Smart, 27, averaged 13.1 points and 5.7 assists in 48 games and is widely considered one of the NBA’s best defensive guards.
He is due to make more than $36 million next season, with a player option for more than $37 million in 2022-23.
Horford, 35, has been a consummate pro his entire career and played for the Celtics from 2016-19. He averaged 14.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in 28 games with the Thunder. His contract is for $52.5 million over the next two seasons.
Brown, 21, is 7-foot-2 and had his moments in his second year this past season, averaging 8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in 43 games.
Brown’s contract calls for him to make a little more than $3 million over the next two seasons, with a team option for $1.97 million for 2023-24.