ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Celtics-Kemba Walker dance is to reach its climax on Sunday at 6 o’clock when free agency officially kicks off. Walker expects to be offered a 4-year, $141 million offer the Celtics can clear up cap space by renouncing all their free agents. They are expected to give disgruntled reserve guard Terry Rozier the $4.2 million qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent and subsequently will be rescinded once Walker is inked on Sunday.
The question “how would Boston ever recover from losing Kyrie Irving” is answered in the signing of Walker. Squashing worries after a turmoil ridden off-season would leave the Celtics with little to nothing offensively and force them to be overly reliant on The Jays and cross their fingers extra tight Gordon Hayward can return to his Utah Jazz self. Signing Kemba essentially takes the pressure off of Hayward he otherwise would have been burdened with having used up all of his sympathy recovering from a traumatic injury nearly two-years ago. Instead of Hayward having to be that go-to No. 1 or 2 option he can slide smoothly as the third-option and work his way back up the ladder.
The only real drawback to signing the three-time All-Star, 2018-19 All-NBA Third Teamer Walker is the Celtics have very little cash on hand to find a starting center because Al Horford is sadly departing Boston along with Kyrie. Left only with a $4.8 million room exception Boston will have to take fliers on older, injury prone or potential headcases to fill out their vacant fifth spot in the starting lineup.
Daniel Theis is my preferred option. He already knows the system having spent two-years under Stevens as a third string center behind Horford and Aron Baynes. Though only attempting 499 field goal attempts he averages 54/35/74 splits scoring nearly 14 points and 10 rebounds according to his per 36. He was sneakily good in the pick-and-roll as the roll-man scoring 1.30 points per possession and hitting the 86th percentile.
While Theis is doomed to be consumed by the Anthony Davis’ and Joel Embiid’s of the world he holds up against more mortal competition and is not a pushover despite his 6-8 height. His first season in Boston he posted an impressive 3.4 defensive box plus/minus and since fallen to 1.5. Still good. You worry what it’ll look like if Theis is promoted from third stringer to starter on a contending team. But he is the only feasible option that is cheap enough to bring aboard that can reasonably defend and score at a decent enough clip.