Kemba Walker’s departure from Boston brings emotional response from Brad Stevens
Kemba Walker is no longer a member of the Boston Celtics, but former head coach and now president of basketball operations Brad Stevens made sure to praise the veteran point guard for his contributions to the franchise.
Stevens, who coached Walker for two seasons before replacing Danny Ainge as the lead decision-maker for the Celtics, said Walker carried himself like a true professional. Stevens thanked Walker for everything he had given to the franchise:
“From the very first day that Kemba arrived in Boston, he’s handled himself as a true professional, a great teammate & a fierce competitor,” Stevens said, via Taylor Snow of Celtics.com. “I want to thank him for his tremendous impact & the positive contribution he’s made to both the Celtics & the city of Boston.”
There had been speculation the Celtics could move Walker this summer after a bumpy 2020-21 campaign. Indeed, Stevens negotiated a deal to send the 31-year-old to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Boston will get Al Horford back as part of the return package.
Walker leaves behind a bit of a complicated Celtics legacy. Boston signed him to a four-year, $141 million deal ahead of the 2019-20 season. The signing immediately paid dividends, as Walker made the All-Star team and seemed to be the perfect veteran leader for some of Boston’s young stars.
However, Walker began dealing with knee issues towards the end of the campaign and in the “bubble” in Orlando. He never really was able to shake off those issues this past season, making his contract look rather unsavory.
Alas, Walker and the Celtics will go their separate ways. Still, Stevens acknowledges how much “Cardiac Kemba” meant to the organization in his two short years.