Another top free agent reveals he “almost” signed with the New York Knicks.
This is a familiar song to New York Knicks fans; they know all of the lyrics. A star player is linked to them in free agency, the star player signs somewhere else, and then a report comes out indicating said player was close to signing with New York’s favorite team.
This time, it’s the player, himself, revealing how close he was to joining the Knicks.
Appearing on a Ringer podcast, Kemba Walker said he very seriously considered calling Madison Square Garden home before signing with the Boston Celtics as a free agent in 2019.
"“To be honest, yes, very serious,” Walker said on the R2C2 podcast when asked if he considered the Knicks in free agency."
Kemba Walker almost signed with the Knicks in 2019.
Walker said he believed the Knicks were going to get “another player” before he ended up inking a deal with Boston.
"“Before Boston actually came along, the Knicks were one of my top priorities,” Walker said. “I was thinking that they were actually going to get another player, but it didn’t work out […] That’s pretty much all I can say though. The Knicks, they were definitely a priority at one point.”"
The Bronx native became a national star by lighting up MSG while he played college basketball at nearby UConn. After spending his first eight seasons playing under Michael Jordan in Charlotte, he was looking for a chance to compete for a championship, ultimately, deciding in 2019 that Boston gave him the best chance to do so.
The Knicks were rumored throughout the 2018-19 season to be the preferred landing spot of superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Obviously, both players ended up signing across the river. Many believe Durant’s injury during the NBA Finals derailed any plans of him coming to the Knicks.
The New York Post reported in 2019 that the Knicks considered Walker a “situational max player” if either Durant or Kawhi Leonard joined him.
When asked directly if the other player Kemba was referring to was Kevin Durant, the star point guard sidestepped giving a response.
Walker made his fourth consecutive All-Star team this past season, playing in 53 games while averaging 20.8 points and 4.8 assists. A knee injury slowed his first season in Beantown, but he has been working back to full strength while playing in the bubble in Orlando.