Kemba 2021: The Jour-knee Begins

Jeff Van GULLY

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Not surprised at all and with Danny admitting he’s punting the TPE to the trade deadline or even next offseason (correct move IMO), they should not rush him back. Manage this for the next 2-3 years of his contract.

Also explains why they didn’t trade him this offseason. Damaged goods.
 

BigSoxFan

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Yeah, the “move Kemba if at all possible” position doesn’t look so crazy now, does it.

3 more years...
It's officially an albatross contract. Now, we're just trying to salvage any value we can. Sucks. I'll be keeping a close eye on the Spurs and Dejounte.
 

lexrageorge

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Yeah, the “move Kemba if at all possible” position doesn’t look so crazy now, does it.

3 more years...
Except that the "if at all possible" was basically not going to come to fruition this offseason. Ainge was never going to give up assets to trade Kemba, as there is no way Ainge would deliberately worsen a playoff contending team. Better to deal with the bad contract than a team that goes out early in the playoffs.
 

Cellar-Door

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I think it's way too early to tell how concerned we should be about Walker.

It sounds like this is a menicus related issue, and honestly the NBA is littered with guys who have come back from meniscal issues (Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, late period Rose, etc,).
If this were a normal offseason his timeline would put him back before pre-season even started. Now, maybe his knee is in bad shape and he becomes an albatross contract, but it's just as likely that his knee is essentially fine and we get the normal decline of a player into his 30s.
 

lovegtm

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Except that the "if at all possible" was basically not going to come to fruition this offseason. Ainge was never going to give up assets to trade Kemba, as there is no way Ainge would deliberately worsen a playoff contending team. Better to deal with the bad contract than a team that goes out early in the playoffs.
Yeah, we’ll never know what offers were out there. If there was even neutral value, I think holding him will look quite bad. But yes, we never know, and maybe stem cells can work some magic.
 

128

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I think it's way too early to tell how concerned we should be about Walker.

It sounds like this is a menicus related issue, and honestly the NBA is littered with guys who have come back from meniscal issues (Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, late period Rose, etc,).
If this were a normal offseason his timeline would put him back before pre-season even started. Now, maybe his knee is in bad shape and he becomes an albatross contract, but it's just as likely that his knee is essentially fine and we get the normal decline of a player into his 30s.
Hasn't Westbrook had his knees scoped at least a half-dozen times?
 

lovegtm

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I think it's way too early to tell how concerned we should be about Walker.

It sounds like this is a menicus related issue, and honestly the NBA is littered with guys who have come back from meniscal issues (Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, late period Rose, etc,).
If this were a normal offseason his timeline would put him back before pre-season even started. Now, maybe his knee is in bad shape and he becomes an albatross contract, but it's just as likely that his knee is essentially fine and we get the normal decline of a player into his 30s.
Thanks for talking me off the ledge. Still pessimistic, but even a high-quality 6th man through the life of the deal would salvage some value.
 

BigSoxFan

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I don't think it's premature at all to be very concerned. We're talking about a 6'0 30.5 year-old PG who now has a bum knee that requires significant rehab and, eventually, constant load managing. The 30+ years are tough for those small guys even without a knee issue.

Just have to hope that he can be relatively close to normal by the spring and that we see some positive unintended consequences from this, such as Pritchard turning into a contributor or a nice TPE acquisition.
 

Cellar-Door

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Hasn't Westbrook had his knees scoped at least a half-dozen times?
Yeah, he tore his meniscus in the game where Beverley took out his knee, and has had a number of cleanup surgeries over the years since.
Thanks for talking me off the ledge. Still pessimistic, but even a high-quality 6th man through the life of the deal would salvage some value.
I'm not as unconcerned as I would be if it were just a normal "oh meniscus tear cleanup" of which Kemba has already had one. The Stem cell thing makes me wonder if it's getting real thin in there.
But... I think there is plenty of reason to think that this could just be a minor thing that is part of your standard decline curve, and giving it plenty of time, and managing it well gets you maybe fewer minutes of Kemba, but a high quality in those minutes.
 

benhogan

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I think there is plenty of reason to think that this could just be a minor thing that is part of your standard decline curve, and giving it plenty of time, and managing it well gets you maybe fewer minutes of Kemba, but a high quality in those minutes.
Yea, it was a concern when they signed him. I doubt it's a minor thing. We've already seen 5 months off, then careful management with fewer minutes in reg season bubble. The playoffs started and we got 7 good games then crater.

With a healthy knee, KW was always going to get hunted defensively in the playoffs. Now it's open season.

One note, Brad needs to put a minutes restriction on Kemba. Playing him 52 minutes in a Double OT game 6 against Toronto probably didn't help.
Kemba also didn't seem the same after 45minutes vs the Clippers + All-Star game nonsense during the regular season.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Synvisc from what I understand isn't a long-term solution. (Given that he received his first injection in February, I'm wondering whether the Synvisc therapy wasn't optimized for the June playoff run that would have occurred except for CV.) Glancing around the internet seems like stem cell injections is next non-surgical modality (well that and PRP injections). I'm concerned but I'm hoping the doctors can figure out how to keep his knee healthy for a couple of more stretch/playoff runs; after all, that's all we really need KW for.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I think it's way too early to tell how concerned we should be about Walker.

It sounds like this is a menicus related issue, and honestly the NBA is littered with guys who have come back from meniscal issues (Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, late period Rose, etc,).
If this were a normal offseason his timeline would put him back before pre-season even started. Now, maybe his knee is in bad shape and he becomes an albatross contract, but it's just as likely that his knee is essentially fine and we get the normal decline of a player into his 30s.
We know that he had knee issues in Charlotte from west and tear. Clifford used to plead with him to sit games out but he refused. This is typically what happens with small guards once the wear and tear accumulates. When you compare the reduced training to the age there is nearly always the loss of first step which is critical for a player like Kemba to get off his shot. This isn’t even addressing the defensive issues. Now we know why Teague was brought on board as much for insurance with the first unit as it was to upgrade Wanamaker.
 

the moops

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Yea, it was a concern when they signed him. I doubt it's a minor thing. We've already seen 5 months off, then careful management with fewer minutes in reg season bubble. The playoffs started and we got 7 good games then crater.
He wasn't great, but he definitely didn't crater. He shot (from three) terribly in almost every game in the TOR series, but ended + 54. His poor shooting continued in game 1 of MIA series, but shot 40% in the remaining games, and was + 4 for the series.

MIA played really fucking good defense. The zone gobbled him up, and you would hope your lead PG could create more, but sometimes series or games just go wrong.
 

benhogan

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He wasn't great, but he definitely didn't crater. He shot (from three) terribly in almost every game in the TOR series, but ended + 54. His poor shooting continued in game 1 of MIA series, but shot 40% in the remaining games, and was + 4 for the series.

MIA played really fucking good defense. The zone gobbled him up, and you would hope your lead PG could create more, but sometimes series or games just go wrong.
Ok, he couldn't penetrate the zone and shot the 3 poorly the last 10 games. He clearly lost a step.

If you want to use +/- over 6 games go nuts.
 

BaseballJones

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The contract is what it is. The Celtics have a lot of high-end talent on the team aside from Kemba. If he only ended up being a 20 min a night guy who provided scoring spark and leadership, would that make his contract "worth it"? No, but could the Celtics be a highly successful team with that formula? I believe yes they could. Especially if Teague is solid and Pritchard comes along. There are some nice pieces in place on this team.
 

BigSoxFan

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The contract is what it is. The Celtics have a lot of high-end talent on the team aside from Kemba. If he only ended up being a 20 min a night guy who provided scoring spark and leadership, would that make his contract "worth it"? No, but could the Celtics be a highly successful team with that formula? I believe yes they could. Especially if Teague is solid and Pritchard comes along. There are some nice pieces in place on this team.
I don't think anyone is panicking but the contract will be a problem for luxury tax reasons for the next 3 years, especially once Tatum's monster deal kicks in. It is what it is. My guess is Wyc and Co are comfortable paying some big bills as they chase that elusive #18 so there may not be much of a practical impact.

At this point, it's all about getting him as close to playoff ready as possible. We no longer need him to carry the team like he did in the early parts of last season.
 

lexrageorge

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Assuming Brown and Tatum continue to make "the leap", the Celtics can certainly live with a reduced role for Kemba, and can just as easily live with his defensive deficiencies (still unlikely to be worse than Kyrie going forward, who's also had lingering knee issues). No team has plus defenders at all 5 spots all the time; Lakers won the title with Rondo.

Payroll efficiency is much less of an issue with Hayward's contract off the books and a tax reset coming.
 

boca

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Wow. To get that response from Ainge it must be even worse that I thought and I am pretty pessimistic about his knee. How can you read that without thinking this may jeopardize his future in the league?
Yeah it's a pretty sobering statement.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Well here's a more optimistic quote from DA (source):

"We're just being very cautious with Kemba," Ainge said. "We didn't have a long-enough offseason, so we set out during the offseason - he saw just a few different doctors to research what was going on with his knee, why he didn't feel as good as he hoped. They all said surgery is definitely not needed, you need to strengthen your quad and your hamstring and your glutes and you should be fine.
"We're encouraged that he'll be able to return at full speed, but we do not want to rush the program, just because we're starting so early. We're not going to push him to start sooner, now that the season is starting earlier than some anticipated."
I'd probably reconcile the various statements by inferring that KW can potentially manage his situation with stem cell injection plus a strengthening program that keeps his knee in place while he plays (thus strengthening quad, glutes, and hamstring) but if that doesn't work, then it's going to be tough sledding.
 

Jimbodandy

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Assuming Brown and Tatum continue to make "the leap", the Celtics can certainly live with a reduced role for Kemba, and can just as easily live with his defensive deficiencies (still unlikely to be worse than Kyrie going forward, who's also had lingering knee issues). No team has plus defenders at all 5 spots all the time; Lakers won the title with Rondo.

Payroll efficiency is much less of an issue with Hayward's contract off the books and a tax reset coming.
All of this is true.
 

EL Jeffe

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It's obviously concerning but let's see how it plays out. Peyton Manning got stem cell injections in his neck in 2011 and obviously came back for a couple of monster seasons in Denver before washing out. Kobe got stem cell injections in his knee in 2013 and came back to finish his career as a shell of himself (but this was his age 36 & 37 seasons after putting on A LOT of mileage in his career and having a lateral tibial plateau fracture). Max Scherzer got one last year in his back/upper shoulder and then made his 12 starts in 2020. He wasn't Max Scherzer!, but he was also 35 and still effective.

At 30, we'll see how Kemba responds.
 

benhogan

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I'd expect happy talk from Brad/Danny/Kemba/teammates in regards to Kemba's health. Hope for the best and all.

I do like the optimism from Brad about young guys getting "opportunities". No need to view this as "giving up" on 2020-21. Let's find out who is going to compliment the Jays best this season and years to come.
 

BaseballJones

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Good point actually. If last season had ended when it normally does, and Kemba had this procedure done, he'd almost certainly have been ready for the start of this coming season. But it's a wicked short turnaround and that means Kemba is going to miss some time at the start.

But I do think it's clear that he's going to have to be carefully managed for the rest of his career.
 

nighthob

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I'd expect happy talk from Brad/Danny/Kemba/teammates in regards to Kemba's health. Hope for the best and all.

I do like the optimism from Brad about young guys getting "opportunities". No need to view this as "giving up" on 2020-21. Let's find out who is going to compliment the Jays best this season and years to come.
The glass half full option is that Nesmith will get plenty of developmental time early in the year to see what he can do defensively. This is definitely a going to be a bridge year, though. And they might need to be looking around for another combo guard to spend part of the TPE on as Walker is apparently entering the 6th man phase of his career.
 

ifmanis5

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The age/severity/location of injury is a terrible combo. They'll have to make him a part time player going forward to salvage value. He's basically Kyrie but not as good and also not insane.
 

Jimbodandy

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Fwiw, I think that the outlook should neither be unicorns/rainbows nor dark clouds. Yes, Kemba's knee issues are serious. But the range of outcomes is ridiculously wide, given what we know.

We don't need to put this in the "fucked" or "unfucked" bucket yet.
 

benhogan

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The glass half full option is that Nesmith will get plenty of developmental time early in the year to see what he can do defensively. This is definitely a going to be a bridge year, though. And they might need to be looking around for another combo guard to spend part of the TPE on as Walker is apparently entering the 6th man phase of his career.
while skeptical of Kemba of old reappearing for more than a few weeks at a time. I'm ridiculously bullish on Tatum/Brown's development, they are probably too good to even entertain a bridge year. By the time the playoffs roll around, they'll be even more dominant.
 

lovegtm

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while skeptical of Kemba of old reappearing for more than a few weeks at a time. I'm ridiculously bullish on Tatum/Brown's development, they are probably too good to even entertain a bridge year. By the time the playoffs roll around, they'll be even more dominant.
The team made the ECF with no Hayward, limited Kemba, and a worse center rotation than now. If Tatum and Brown improve, any young guy can step up, and they fill in some gap with the TPE, they could weather Kemba’s albatross, as crazy as that is.
 

nighthob

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while skeptical of Kemba of old reappearing for more than a few weeks at a time. I'm ridiculously bullish on Tatum/Brown's development, they are probably too good to even entertain a bridge year. By the time the playoffs roll around, they'll be even more dominant.
That's what I mean by bridge year. This year is about throwing the Jay-Crew into the fire and them stepping up and dominating. For the first three years of his career the Celtics have protected Tatum from that sort of usage rate. And Walker was brought in to be the closer to give Jayson time to grow into the role. Well, the time's up. Jayson is going to be tasked with carrying the offense on his back, closing games, and being dominant defensively.

And there will be growing pains. Because Smart's going to be asked to be a scorer for the first time in his career, Jaylen's going to be required to improve his playmaking, and Jayson charged with becoming Kawhi v2.0. I have the most faith in that last part coming to fruition. And I agree that by the time the playoffs roll around that the Jay-Crew is going to run rampant (and I wish that they'd drafted Jayden Scrubb just so that they could have had a complete set). By the time the regular season ends even the Port Cellar will have to admit that Jayson's an MVP candidate.
 

bankshot1

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The team made the ECF with no Hayward, limited Kemba, and a worse center rotation than now. If Tatum and Brown improve, any young guy can step up, and they fill in some gap with the TPE, they could weather Kemba’s albatross, as crazy as that is.
This is exactly right, They probably would have beaten the HEAT with Hayward and Kemba near 100% The core is pretty solid and TT and Teague give them veteran depth. I hope the young guys from the recent draft classes get some serious PT to see what they can do and IF they can contribute meaningfully in the post-season. While I wish Kemba was good to go, I'm psyched about this iteration and what it may be able to do.
 

benhogan

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That's what I mean by bridge year. This year is about throwing the Jay-Crew into the fire and them stepping up and dominating. For the first three years of his career the Celtics have protected Tatum from that sort of usage rate. And Walker was brought in to be the closer to give Jayson time to grow into the role. Well, the time's up. Jayson is going to be tasked with carrying the offense on his back, closing games, and being dominant defensively.

And there will be growing pains. Because Smart's going to be asked to be a scorer for the first time in his career, Jaylen's going to be required to improve his playmaking, and Jayson charged with becoming Kawhi v2.0. I have the most faith in that last part coming to fruition. And I agree that by the time the playoffs roll around that the Jay-Crew is going to run rampant (and I wish that they'd drafted Jayden Scrubb just so that they could have had a complete set). By the time the regular season ends even the Port Cellar will have to admit that Jayson's an MVP candidate.
my Theo Bridge Year reflex kicked in.

I'm with you on Tatum. Hanlan/JT are in the video room fine-tuning the side step 3. With his release it's basically unblockable. Top 5 in the MVP vote.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Any stem cell injection to the knee success stories out there? I'm glad they're at least doing something medically because it sounded like there weren't any treatment options for whatever is going on in there.
 

Cellar-Door

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Any stem cell injection to the knee success stories out there? I'm glad they're at least doing something medically because it sounded like there weren't any treatment options for whatever is going on in there.
Kobe, I think Steph as well
 

radsoxfan

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Agree with Danny, this year will tell us a lot.

I can tell you with 100% certainly this is not "just a meniscus issue". Once the meniscus is torn, trimmed down in surgery, etc, the arthritis follows soon after. When you lose your shock absorber in the knee, the cartilage will wear down. That's the concern, not the meniscus at this point (hence no need for surgery now). They wouldn't be doing Synvisc or stem cells unless he is already to the cartilage loss/arthritis stage.

This type of thing is so individualized there is no way to look at another NBA player with this "injury" and try to compare. It depends on the degree or cartilage loss, where it is, how chronic it is, how the underlying bone has remodeled, etc. Unless one of us sees his knee MRI, the spectrum of outcomes over the next few years is still very large.

Stem cells frankly don't have good data, but they must feel it's worth a shot with little risk. Obviously you can see why Danny was interested in moving Kemba and didn't get any takers.

Nothing else to do at this point but hope for the best. Hopefully one of the PGs impresses early in the season and whatever happens with Kemba isn't critically important.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Any stem cell injection to the knee success stories out there? I'm glad they're at least doing something medically because it sounded like there weren't any treatment options for whatever is going on in there.
Pau Gasol has one of his best seasons in his mid-30’s a year or two following his stem cell. Not sure how this relates as a big compared to a tiny though.