Kemba Walker, Brad Stevens had a season full of tension?
Kemba walker, was negotiated at the Thunder Friday, has enjoyed a “tension filled” season with former coach and now president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Multiple team sources tell Weiss that there was a malfunction in the Celtics’ locker room and Stevens was seen as harsher on Walker than other players. Weiss adds that after Gordon hayward left to sign with the Hornets, he told Stevens he needed to take a more energetic stance with the players for the team to be successful.
Stevens got tougher on several players, including Walker, whom he frequently criticized for mistakes in defense. Walker and Stevens often quarreled, sources add, but they maintained a working relationship and mutual respect.
According to multiple sources, Walker, who signed with Boston two years ago in free agency, got angry at the team’s disappointing season and the boos leveled at him by Celtics fans. He started talking privately about switching to another team and was ready to accept a trade.
There’s more on the Celtics, all from Weiss:
- Trading Walker was a first step in keeping custody of free agents Evan Fournier and young center Robert williams, which is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer. The Celtics hope to bring Fournier back on a long-term deal while only creating a modest tax bill. The swap will also make it easier to add a maximum salary bracket for free agency 2022, as Al horfordThe contract has just a guarantee of $ 14 million in its final season.
- Several sources said several players were hoping for a change of coach, believing Stevens did not hold some of his star players to account. There was also frustration with the coach’s “collegiate offense” and complaints that the players would remain isolated. There appears to be a preference in the locker room for a black coach with NBA playing experience, and Chauncey Billups, Imé Udoka and Darvin Ham are among the proposed candidates second interview.
- Marcus Intelligent will inherit the starting playmaker role and hope to reestablish a culture of defensive responsibility he built with Horford, returning to the Celtics in Walker’s trade. According to sources, his teammates often ignored Smart after Horford left, which led to his showdown with Jaylen brown after Game 2 of the 2020 Eastern Conference Final.
- After Blake griffon‘s buyout with the Pistons, he asked a Celtics player to join the squad and was told there were too many malfunctions.