The Boston Celtics appear to have recovered quickly from the Kyrie Irving era.
Boston will reportedly sign Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker to a maximum 4-year, $141 million contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
With Irving expected to sign in Brooklyn and backup guard Terry Rozier exploring other options in free agency, the Celtics had a major hole at the point guard position. Center Al Horford is also expected to depart Boston, giving GM Danny Ainge enough cap space to bring Walker aboard.
The Celtics still have some maneuvering to do, especially at center. But a team built around Walker and forwards Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward should be able to compete in the East. Guard Marcus Smart is also under contract for the next three seasons.
Depending on how the rest of the East shakes out, Boston could once again be amongst the favorites in that conference during the preseason. Milwaukee and Philadelphia each have three priority free agents that could leave this offseason, and Kawhi Leonard isn’t a lock to return to Toronto.
Boston is currently +2000 to win next season’s NBA title on Bovada — the same price as the Utah Jazz. Nine other teams currently have better odds to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy next season.
Walker averaged a career-high 25.6 points per contest last season, adding in 5.9 assists (best since 2013-14) and 4.4 rebounds per game. He spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Charlotte Hornets, making the postseason just twice in that span.
Free agency will officially open at 6 p.m. ET on June 30.