In the early hours of free agency, the Celtics discussed a three-way sign-and-trade that would have brought Kemba Walker to Boston while sending Kyrie Irving to the Nets and Terry Rozier to the Hornets, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald.
The Celtics were hoping to pull off the deal and still have enough resources left to keep Al Horford, but the trade got scrapped when Horford elected to accept a four-year, $109MM contract from the Sixers.
The proposed transaction wouldn’t have been as difficult to execute as some in the media have claimed, Bulpett adds. The Nets had the cap space to sign Irving outright and would have sought some compensation to participate, but all three teams had interest. Bulpett states that while the deal never got close to completion, Brooklyn officials were clear about what they wanted and their price could have been met.
In an interview this week, Horford suggested that he might have given stronger consideration to staying in Boston if he had known Walker was joining the team.
“I don’t want to get caught up in the past,” Horford said, “but, yeah, that would have been totally different.”
The Celtics were willing to give the 33-year-old a four-year-deal, according to Bulpett, but he landed in a good situation in Philadelphia, where he is surrounded by enough talent to compete for a title and won’t be asked to play center as often because of Joel Embiid.