The Boston Celtics could soon have a replacement for Kyrie Irving, who seems determined to leave New England for the Brooklyn Nets. According to multiple reports, Boston has emerged as a very realistic landing spot for Kemba Walker.

Shortly after calling Boston a “stealth suitor” for Walker Tuesday, The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported that the Celtics were the team with the best chance to lure the point guard away from the Charlotte Hornets. The Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend pegged Boston as Walker’s most likely destination Wednesday.

Townsend and Stein have both noted that the Dallas Mavericks are in the mix to sign Walker, as well. The New York Knicks are also expected to pursue Walker, a New York City native.

Over the last few weeks, the Hornets had appeared to be the heavy favorites to ink Walker to a new contract. Charlotte can offer Walker a five-year supermax contract worth $221 million, about $80 million more than he can get from any other team.

The Hornets aren’t expected to pay their best player well over $200 million, but Walker has stated that he would be willing to take less than the supermax to remain in Charlotte.

All of that was before Boston became a candidate to sign a max free agent. It’s quite clear that Irving is gone, and Al Horford is reportedly set to join another team this summer. The Celtics traded Aron Baynes to the Phoenix Suns during the NBA Draft, putting them in a position to offer Walker a max contract.

Staying in Charlotte would allow Walker to make the most money possible. It would also give him little to no chance to play for a contender over the next few seasons.

The Hornets barely have any money to spend this offseason even before signing Walker. Keeping him would probably mean surpassing the luxury tax threshold. Charlotte didn’t make the playoffs this past season, and they won’t be among the East’s best teams unless the roster receives a major overhaul.

Dallas has been linked to Walker for a while. Adding him to a roster that includes reigning Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis could make Dallas a force to be reckoned with in the West for years to come.

Walker was a 2019 All-NBA Third Team selection, averaging 25.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game.

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker #15 of the Charlotte Hornets reacts as head coach James Borrego of the Charlotte Hornets watches on during their game against the Houston Rockets at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 27, 2019. Getty Images/Streeter Lecka