Brad Stevens did not dip his toe in the water to start his tenure as Boston Celtics president of basketball operations.
Instead, he made a significant splash.
The Celtics on Friday traded Kemba Walker, the 16th overall pick in this year’s NBA draft and a 2025 second-rounder to the Thunder in exchange for Al Horford, center Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round selection. Boston did not necessarily improve from a personnel standpoint from the deal, but the organization did create some much-needed salary-cap flexibility, as Walker is owed $73 million over the next two seasons.
“Kemba is a true professional and a great teammate and player,” Stevens said of Walker. “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.”
The statement continued: “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. His ability to elevate teammates with his experience and leadership make for a great addition.”
Stevens also welcomed Brown, who the head coach-turned-exec views as a “promising young player.” This probably shouldn’t be considered media speak either, as the 21-year-old center showed signs of a high ceiling over the course of his first true NBA season in OKC.