NBA Basketball

Trades are a steal or a dud

Trades are typically ranked as follows:

A steal.

A dud.

An act of stupidity that requires immediate damnation for the fool who made it.

Those of us of certain vintage often use the Spark Lyle-for-Danny Cater trade the standard for general managing stupidity. Lyle helped the Yankees win three American League pennants and two World Series. Cater’s Red Sox career is shrouded in irrelevancy.

In the digital age, with anyone capable of hunting and pecking across a trillion or so social media vehicles, there are more damned fools out there than ever.

But the first deal wheeled by newly installed Celtics front office leader Brad Stevens cannot possibly be considered a failure unless Kemba Walker plays like a Hall of Famer for the duration of his career while Al Horford chucks the millions he is still owed and heads home.

Walker went to Oklahoma, along with the 16th pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Horford is returning to Boston, along with a young NBA enigma named Moses Brown.

Since Walker came to town after head case Kyrie Irving slithered off to Brooklyn, his impact on the Celtics was, at best, marginal. Too often he was hobbled with injuries. When relatively healthy, he was as likely to go 3-for-20 from the field as he was to score 25.

Attention all Kemba connoisseurs: Please don’t leave in a fit of spluttering rage to look up Walker’s actual numbers. The ones stated above are offered as a reflection of one man’s perception. 

When most needed, such as in the playoffs, a hologram of Walker had a nasty habit of showing up. And holograms tend to be lousy shooters.

If this seems a harsh criticism of Walker’s presence than those words are serving their precise service. There seems to be universal praise for Walker as a good guy and solid teammate, which are judgments best left to those who know him.

Such players are nice to have around, but they must have some value on the court. Alas, Walker’s on-court value was limited.

Horford is 35 years old, which translates to 65 in NBA years. But he did average nearly seven rebounds and 14 points per game for Oklahoma City this season, which at the very least upgrades the Celtics’ depth upfront.

Then there is Moses Brown, a 21-year-old big man who personifies how difficult it is to turn potential into reality. The last time he played at the Garden he scored 21 points and had 23 rebounds for the Thunder.

If Stevens can find a coach capable of bringing out Brown’s best, this could be the steal of the century.

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