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The reasons the Celtics traded Kemba Walker for Al Horford

Celtics, Al Horford, Kemba Walker

Brad Stevens pulled off a bit of a stunner in his first move as the Boston Celtics’ new president of basketball operations, shipping Kemba Walker off to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Al Horford. There were also some draft picks involved in the deal, as well as Moses Brown.

Stevens talked to the media Monday about the deal and opened up on why this particular move was made at this time. There were several reasons the Celtics did it.

Via CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith:

“We had to look at doing the trade with this first round pick now because it gave us a few more options from a financial flexibility standpoint.

“It was the best deal that we had with returning players. Not only does Al (Horford) make considerably less money than Kemba (Walker), he’s also a very good player.”

Stevens also noted how bringing back Horford as a trusted veteran to play with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown was a factor in the trade. The veteran big man played a key role for the Celtics in Tatum and Brown’s first seasons in the NBA, so there’s familiarity there. Those two youngsters are the future of the franchise, so surrounding them with the right veterans is paramount.

The Celtics executive said it was hard to trade Walker, but it was simply the move they had to make. There had been trade rumblings surrounding Walker after he struggled again with injuries this season, so getting off that contract is a plus. When Horford was actually playing for the Thunder last season, he showed he still has plenty left in the tank.

Boston is hoping Horford’s veteran savvy and versatility will help them bounce back after a disastrous 2020-21 campaign.