The Boston Celtics were two games short of facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals last season. They could not matchup with the Miami Heat‘s incredible performances and were sent packing from the Orlando Bubble. Entering this offseason, the team’s biggest focus was giving their star player Jayson Tatum his extension. Now that he’s locked, their other concern is around Kemba Walker.
The Celtics acquired the point guard from the Charlotte Hornets in the 2019 offseason with a four-year maximum contract worth $141 million. He was expected to run the show alongside the young superstars, Jaylen Brown and Tatum. By giving Kemba the largest contract in the franchise’s history, the team showed the value he held for them.
However, since before his All-Star game, Walker has been experiencing knee troubles. This injury cost him heavily because fans didn’t see the same All-Star guard in the Orlando Bubble. But before this, Walker has been exactly the veteran guard the Celtics were looking for. Therefore, they will help Kemba through this difficult phase and prepare him to be in the best shape possible before the upcoming season begins.
On ‘The Ryan and Godman Podcast’, Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens was asked how it has been to manage Walker in this short layoff. Stevens stated, “He’s working exceptionally hard… The key to this whole thing with him is just to strengthen the knee. And continuing to take this opportunity when we’re not playing, when we’re not practicing, to really focus on that, very similar to what we did at the beginning of the bubble. I think that there will be a transition like that because of the shortened season… It’ll be some time before he’s going full speed for us for sure.”
When Stevens was asked when Kemba would be seen back in action, he responded, “We haven’t settled on any timelines. This is more of a plan appropriately for things so that he can play and play uninhibited as he moves forward a lot like the bubble again. The bubble was unique because you went basically four months off. There was a different challenge there, and that ramping up was a big threat to everybody. But certainly, if he had a situation where he goes too fast too soon, that probably wouldn’t have been good. Here, you’re just too soon to [start] the season.”
Brad emphasized, “I anticipate it will be slow with him, as the season starts, as practice starts.”
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