How Kemba Walker to Celtics or Mavericks Would Affect Futures Betting Market
Photo credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kemba Walker
- According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks are serious suitors for Hornets free agent Kemba Walker.
- Matt Moore discusses what Walker's addition would mean for those franchises and the futures market.
For all the talk about Kyrie Irving and what part of this very round Earth he’s going to take his talents to, Kemba Walker gives you much of the same skillset without all the locker room baggage. The Hornets guard is expected to have serious conversations with the Hornets about re-upping on a supermax contract, and he’s indicated his willingness to take less if it helps the team win.
But there were also signs toward the end of the year that he’ll look seriously in free agency, and the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell has echoed those considerations. Now comes word via the New York Times’ Marc Stein that the Mavericks and Celtics will be serious suitors for him:
We can scratch "stealth." Boston and Dallas are at the front of the line that will be trying to lure Kemba Walker away from Charlotte, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 25, 2019
Bonnell notes his belief that Walker will definitely take meetings:
Two NBA sources confirm @TheSteinLine report that Celtics are seriously interested in @KembaWalker. I doubt the Hornets put this thing to bed pre-emptively when free-agency opens June 30. Plenty of suitors, and I assume Kemba will listen to all the pitches.
— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) June 25, 2019
What It Means for Celtics and Mavericks Futures Markets
The Celtics remain a stay-away future bet with this news. If the C’s were to get an Al Horford replacement along with Walker, that combo is enough to make their early 47.5 win total line worth a bet on the over, but without a capable big on both ends, it remains in the stay-away category.
Walker would bring a lot of the necessary shot-making and play-making for a talented roster, and he’s underrated defensively. But the Celtics are still young, and even with Gordon Hayward closer to what he was before his injury, they likely don’t have the firepower to really pursue a 50-plus-win season.
The Mavericks, however, are more interesting. Their over/under has remained stable at 41.5 the last week. When they were actually trying before they traded all the veterans and tanked out, they were on pace for at least 35 wins. Walker gives Luka Doncic another perimeter threat to work with, and he’s someone Doncic can pass to for spot-ups and run 1-3 pick-and-rolls with Walker as the ball-handler.
The trouble here is Kristaps Porzingis. The Athletic reported Tuesday that the Mavericks are set to offer Porzingis a max extension. Porzingis is expected to be back for training camp, but with a minutes restriction. He will have been out of basketball for over a year and a half by that point, and his injury history is extremely concerning. They have some other good pieces like Maxi Kleber, but they are limited in surrounding wing talent.
Walker could help maximize both Doncic and Porzingis, but he’ll also turn 30 at the end of next season, compared to Porzingis and Doncic, who are both 23 or younger. That mix can be difficult for veteran stars.
Would Walker lift the Mavs to over 41.5? Probably not. The under might honestly be the play if you were to go now. But with so many suitors for Walker, considering Dallas, Boston, Charlotte, New York and the Lakers are all expected to pitch him, it’s hard to think this has the steam to give either side value.
All odds as of 5:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 25.