Celtics trade Kemba to Thunder, bring back Horford

Brian Babineau / National Basketball Association / Getty

Brad Stevens didn't wait long for his first blockbuster move as president of the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics traded star guard Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a 2023 second-round pick, the team announced Friday.

Boston will also send Oklahoma City the 16th overall pick in this year's draft plus a 2025 second-round pick.

Walker, 31, averaged 19.3 points, 4.9 assists, four rebounds, and 1.1 steals over 43 games this past season for the Celtics.

A left knee issue limited him throughout his two campaigns in Boston. Walker missed nearly a month to start the 2020-21 season, and then a bone bruise in the same knee sidelined him for the Celtics' final two games of their first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets.

"Kemba is a true professional and a great teammate and player," Stevens, who was Walker's head coach in Boston, said in a statement. "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."

Walker penned a four-year, $141-million max contract with the Celtics in 2019 as part of a sign-and-trade deal that sent Terry Rozier to the Charlotte Hornets. Trading away Walker relieves Boston of the $73 million remaining on his contract, Wojnarowski notes. However, the Celtics now take on the roughly $53.5 million owed to the 35-year-old Horford through 2022-23.

Horford sat out the final two months of the season as part of a mutual agreement with the Thunder, with the team prioritizing developing its young players. He registered 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game over 28 appearances in 2020-21. Horford suited up for the Celtics from 2016 to 2019.

"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," Stevens said. "His ability to elevate teammates with his experience and leadership make for a great addition."

The trade is Stevens' first move since becoming the head of Boston's basketball operations on June 2. The 44-year-old replaced longtime Celtics executive Danny Ainge, who retired after 18 years with the franchise.

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Celtics trade Kemba to Thunder, bring back Horford
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