It’s starting to sound like Kemba Walker will probably sign with the Boston Celtics. After a few days of rumors linking the point guard to Boston, the top NBA insiders have indicated that the Celtics have the inside track on landing the three-time All-Star.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Thursday morning that the Charlotte Hornets and their best player were at a stalemate because of a sizeable gap in their contract negotiation. Moments later, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Boston is the frontrunner to acquire Walker when free agency officially begins Sunday night. 

Walker’s decision to join Boston would have ripple effects across the league. While not a top-tier free agent like Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, Walker is one of the best guards in basketball with several teams looking to give him a max contract.

What does this mean for the rest of Walker’s suitors?

Let’s start with the Hornets, who were the favorites to sign Walker to a new contract. Charlotte can offer Walker a five-year, $221 million supermax contract. The rest of the league can only make him a four-year, $140 million offer. 

The Hornets were not expected to give Walker the most money possible, and he publicly acknowledged that he’d be willing to accept an offer that fell short of the supermax. If Charlotte isn’t close to meeting Walker’s asking price, it’s possible that the organization isn’t willing to go much higher than a four-year max deal.

Charlotte’s reluctance comes from their payroll. Even without Walker, the Hornets don’t have salary cap space. The team missed the playoffs with a below .500 record for the third straight year this past season, winning 39 games. Signing Walker might mean missing the postseason and still having to pay luxury tax penalties.

With no real chance to improve the roster significantly during the offseason, the Hornets could quickly become one of the worst teams in the NBA. Walker led Charlotte in points (25.6), assists (5.5) and steals (1.2) per game in the 2018-2019 season. No.12 overall draft pick P.J. Washington probably won’t be a game-changer, and the Hornets aren’t in the market for a top free agent.

Walker’s decision to sign with the Celtics would almost certainly put the Hornets near the top of the 2020 draft lottery. It could also indirectly have the New York Knicks back in the conversation to get the No.1 pick in the draft.

What was supposed to be a magical summer for the Knicks is quickly turning into a disaster. New York failed to get Zion Williamson or Anthony Davis. The Knicks’ chance to use their cap space on two max free agents is slipping through their fingers.

New York traded Kristaps Porzingis in January with the idea of signing both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. A Durant-Walker pairing was the Knicks’ Plan B.

With Irving reportedly set on joining the Brooklyn Nets and Walker potentially headed to Boston, the Knicks might have to convince Durant to come to Madison Square Garden without another All-Star by his side. Even if Durant does go to the Knicks, his ruptured Achilles will likely keep him out all of next year, making for another long season for New York’s most popular team.

The Knicks have been linked to Walker because of their two max slots and the fact that the point guard is a New York native. The Dallas Mavericks, however, might actually be a bigger threat to sign Walker.

The Mavericks have enough money under the salary cap to sign a free agent to a max contract, and they have been linked to Walker for months. They could be an appealing destination with 2019 Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis likely set as cornerstones of the organization for years to come.

Missing out on Walker would leave the Mavericks searching elsewhere for a max free agent. There have been rumors that Dallas could use their cap space on Al Horford, who is expected to leave Boston after three seasons with the Celtics.

The departures of Horford and Irving are what will allow Boston to offer Walker a max contract. Restricted free agent Terry Rozier would likely also be gone if Walker goes to the Celtics.

Walker won’t make up for the loss of every Boston free agent, but he would be a major addition for a team that can still be very competitive in the East with the likes of Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum looking to have bounce-back seasons for the Celtics.