The Boston Celtics had such a disappointing season that the organization isn’t waiting for the 2021 NBA playoffs to end to shake up the roster. The team has agreed to trade Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, moving the point guard just two years after signing him to a max contract.

Boston will receive Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round draft pick in the deal, according to Wojnarowski. Oklahoma City gets Walker, the No. 16 overall pick in this year’s draft and a 2025 second-rounder.

The trade is essentially a cost-cutting move, allowing Boston to shed Walker’s $73 million salary over the next two seasons. Walker was hampered by a knee injury for most of his stint with the Celtics, and it could be a chronic issue that prevents him from returning to his All-Star form.

Horford, who played with Boston for three seasons from 2016-2019, is owed $27 million for the 2021-2022 season. Horford could make up to $26.5 million the following year, though only $14.5 million of that salary is guaranteed.

By adding Horford and Brown, the Cetlics have bolstered their frontcourt, a weakness during last season. Horford averaged 14.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in 28 games this past season. Brown averaged 8.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in what was only his second NBA season.

Center Robert Williams showed improvement in his third season with Boston, averaging 9.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game after the All-Star break. There could be little time for Tristan Thompson to find his way onto the court, sparking speculation that the Celtics might look to trade the veteran. 

Thompson has one year and $9.258 million left on his contract.

Trading Walker frees up both money and playing time in the backcourt for Boston. It might increase the chances of the Celtics re-signing Evan Fournier. Fournier averaged 15.4 points per game in the playoffs for Boston and is headed for free agency.

The Celtics are led by two of the NBA’s best young players. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were both 2021 All-Stars. They averaged a combined 51.1 points, 13.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. While Brown missed the playoffs with an injury, Tatum scored 50 points in the team’s play-in tournament game and Boston’s only playoff win.

Tatum and Brown didn’t get enough help during the season, leading to a 36-36 record. Boston was quickly eliminated in five games in the first round by the Brooklyn Nets. In the previous four seasons, the Celtics made three Eastern Conference Finals appearances.

The Celtics are still looking for a head coach after Brad Stevens was chosen to leave the bench and replace team president Danny Ainge in the front office.

Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics shoots against Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter in Game Four Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics shoots against Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter in Game Four Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / POOL