Al Horford’s tenure in Oklahoma City is over. In the last few minutes, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has reported that Al Horford and Moses Brown have been traded to Boston for Kemba Walker, the 16th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and a 2025 second round draft pick.
The Celtics are trading Kemba Walker, the No. 16 overall pick in the 2021 draft and a 2025 second-round draft pick to Oklahoma City for Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round pick, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2021
The Thunder obviously benefit from this trade by adding another pick in what looks to be a very strong draft class. Oklahoma City already have two picks in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft; a third pick will provide Sam Presti with another chance to take a skilled, cost-controlled young player.
Al Horford was widely expected to depart the Thunder this offseason; Horford was shut down during the regular season so that Moses Brown and Tony Bradley could receive more minutes on the court. It was clear from day one that Al Horford did not factor in Sam Presti’s long-term plans.
The most surprising aspect of the deal is that the Thunder have been able to get value for Al Horford in what looked to be a difficult market. There did not seem to be a clear, definitive landing spot for Al. Somehow, Sam Presti has found a way of getting a decent return in this trade.
For Horford, the trade will send him back to Boston where he enjoyed some of the best years of his career. Al Horford’s steady, reliable nature provided the Celtics with consistency at a time where the Boston Celtics were in flux.
Moses Brown, the precocious young center, will also be included in the deal. Brown was another success for the Thunder on the margins. Moses went undrafted in 2019 and the Thunder were his second team. In the second half of the season, Brown was an impactful player for the Thunder.
Moses brought constant energy whenever he touched the court and could be relied upon to compete for every single ball. That willingness to eat up the boards and play solid defense meant that Moses Brown was signed to a multi-year contract with the Thunder back in March. Brown will have an opportunity to impress in Boston on a team that does not have much in the way of competition at the center spot.
This trade will also mean that Kemba Walker will be acquired by the Thunder. Walker’s role on the Celtics had diminished this season and it seemed pretty likely that Kemba would be shopped around by Boston this offseason. Evan Massey had reported nine days ago that the Thunder were willing to take on Kemba’s deal.
Per source, another team to monitor in the Kemba Walker, #Celtics split is the #Thunder. OKC has the flexibility to take on a bad deal and get compensated for it. Al Horford's contract could be used in this situation.— Evan Massey (@massey_evan) June 9, 2021
Walker currently has one year left on his contract with a player option for the 2022-23 season. I do not expect Walker to spend much time in Oklahoma City over the coming months. His contract is too short for the Thunder to spend a year rehabilitating his value. Oklahoma City could afford to play the long game with Chris and Al because they had a lot of time left on their contract.
Sam Presti will need to make a decision on Kemba Walker pretty quickly if he plans on getting value out of Kemba.