The Oklahoma City Thunder has acquired guard Kemba Walker, a 2021 first-round draft pick (16th overall) and a 2025 second-round pick from the Boston Celtics in exchange for centers Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round pick, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.
“Kemba is a true professional and a great teammate and player,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens. “I want to thank him for his tremendous impact, and the positive contribution he’s made both to the Celtics and the City of Boston.”
Per Boston.com, “Boston signed Walker to a maximum contract in 2019, but the 31-year-old has battled injuries in two seasons since. Limited in minutes, Walker averaged under 20 points per game for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.”
Per ESPN.com, “Celtics get significant financial flexibility as Stevens tries to retool the roster around young stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Walker is owed roughly $73 million over the next two years, while Horford is owed $53 million — $41 million guaranteed — over the same two years.”
And also per ESPN.com, “that flexibility will give Boston the potential capability to re-sign guard Evan Fournier, whom they acquired at this year’s trade deadline and who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, while also reuniting the Celtics with Horford, who spent three years with them before signing his current deal with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2019.”
Walker (6-0, 184) has appeared in 704 career games (659 career starts) with Charlotte and Boston and posted career averages of 19.9 points, 5.4 assists and 1.27 steals in 33.7 minutes per game.
A four-time NBA All-Star (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020), Walker was named to the All-NBA Third Team in 2019. Walker helped guide the Hornets to a pair of postseason appearances and he stands as the all-time leading scorer in Hornets’ franchise history (12,009 points).
Walker was the recipient of the NBA’s Sportsmanship Award in 2017 and 2018.
A 10-year NBA veteran, Walker was originally selected by Charlotte with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. During his junior season at the University of Connecticut, Walker led the Huskies to a National Championship after finishing the season as the second leading scorer in the nation.
“Al played a critical role both on and off the court during his time in Boston, and we’re excited to welcome he and his family back to the Celtics,” said Stevens. “His ability to elevate teammates with his experience and leadership make for a great addition. We also want to welcome Moses to Boston. He is a promising young player.”
Horford appeared in 28 games with the Thunder during the 2020-21 season and averaged 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 27.9 minutes per game.
Brown averaged 8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds this past season in Oklahoma City, where he saw action in 43 contests, including 32 starts.
The 2025 second-round pick the Thunder is acquiring is the most favorable of Boston and Memphis. The 2023 second-round pick the Thunder is trading to Boston is the least favorable of Oklahoma City’s three second-round picks.