Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge doesn’t expect Kemba Walker to require offseason surgery to address his left knee issues, but said today that the point guard was “definitely not himself” during the playoffs, tweets Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. According to Ainge, the club will construct a plan for Walker going forward to try to avoid having that happen again.
“In fairness to Kemba, he doesn’t want to say (that he wasn’t himself). He doesn’t say that to our coaches. He doesn’t say that to you, the media. He doesn’t say that to me. I haven’t heard one excuse from him,” Ainge said, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “But watching the games, even the games we won, even the games where he played well, I could tell he wasn’t the same physically as he was in October, November, December. So we’re going to try to get that Kemba back.”
While Walker still made some big plays for the Celtics en route to the team’s appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals, his postseason numbers reflect that he wasn’t at his best. He made just 31.0% of his three-point attempts in 17 playoff contests after knocking down 38.1% during the season.
Here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- Ainge didn’t sound worried about being able to lock up Celtics forward Jayson Tatum to a long-term contract extension sooner rather than later. “Jayson knows how much we like him,” Ainge said, according to Bontemps. “We have a good relationship. Jayson likes it here, so I’m confident that we’ll be able to work something out this summer — this offseason, I should say.”
- Appearing on Kevin Durant‘s podcast this week, Nets teammates Durant and Kyrie Irving denied playing a role in Kenny Atkinson‘s dismissal and made some unusual comments about the club’s new head coaching situation. Brian Lewis of The New York Post has the details.
- Alex Schiffer and William Guillory of The Athletic explore whether a Jrue Holiday trade between the Pelicans and Nets might make sense, as well as what such a deal would look like. The two Athletic writers conclude that it’s probably not a great match.
- Marc Berman of The New York Post takes a closer look at Tyrese Haliburton as a possible Knicks draft target, while Kira Lewis‘ trainer Cory Underwood talks to Ian Begley of SNY.tv about the Alabama guard’s potential fit with the Knicks.