Point guard Kemba Walker was “heartbroken” by his breakup with the Boston Celtics.
The 31-year-old point guard was disappointed because of his “strong relationships with his teammates,” according to The Athletic’s Jared Weiss.
Walker was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a 2023 second-round pick on June 18. In addition to Walker, the Celtics also gave up the No. 16 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and a 2025 second-round pick.
The four-time All-Star spent just two seasons with the Celtics, but seemingly was able to create solid relationships in that time. However, his deteriorating relationship with former head coach Brad Stevens, who was promoted to the front office earlier this offseason, was the main reason for his departure.
According to a previous report from Weiss, the two had a “tension-filled” relationship that stemmed from Stevens being “harder on Walker than other top players.” The two also “began to butt heads” multiple times this season.
In his first major move as president of basketball operations, Stevens traded Walker, who is owed $73 million in his final two years on his contract.
“The most challenging part is being in that seat and having to make that call and ultimately say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to do that,’ when you’re talking about a guy like Kemba,” Stevens said on the difficulties of trading away Walker.
“Again, coached him for two years, have nothing but great things to say about him and really good teammate, really good player, really good person, easy to be around every day. I think that’s what made it the most difficult part of it, obviously.”
In his time in Boston, the veteran was a leader and role model for players like Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, and rookie Payton Pritchard. They all posted to Instagram to thank Walker for being an excellent teammate and friend.
“Gonna miss you dawg,” Prichard captioned his post of him and Kemba together.
“One of the best teammates I’ve ever had! Fam for life!,” Smart wrote.
“Damn… my boy 4L,” Tatum wrote.