It was a little over a year ago when the New York Knicks signed point guard Kemba Walker off waivers to a two-year, $18 million contract. The move was meant to be a homecoming for the Bronx native, but instead, it turned out to be more of a disaster.
The now 32-year-old played in 37 games for New York in 2021-22 before he and the team came to an agreement at the end of February to sit out for the remainder of the season. During those 37 games, Walker averaged 11.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.
This summer, the Knicks made a move that many had been waiting for. On draft night, New York traded Kemba to the Detroit Pistons as part of a three-team deal with the Charlotte Hornets. We now know that it was a move that was meant to clear cap space for Jalen Brunson, who the Knicks signed in free agency.
Walker might’ve been traded to the Pistons, but the expectation’s been that Detroit would buy him out so that he could become a free agent. That hasn’t happened yet, but it’s not because of the Pistons.
Former Knicks PG Kemba Walker reportedly has no teams interested in him
James Edwards III of The Athletic wrote (subscription required):
"Per sources, the Pistons and Walker had agreed on a number, which was a few million less than what he’s owed. However, and this is just an *educated hunch,* Walker has yet to officially agree to the terms of the buyout because, well, a player usually takes a buyout when he’s sure that he can sign with another team and make up some of the money he gave back."
As Edwards wrote, the assumption seems to be that Kemba Walker hasn’t received any real interest from other teams, meaning that there hasn’t been a need for him to agree to a buyout. With the 2022-23 season beginning next month, it’s looking as if Detroit could end up having to pay Walker the nine million that he’s owed for the season.
New York had no reason to keep Walker on the roster and not only because of the Brunson signing. The Knicks have Immanuel Quickley, but in terms of Walker’s value, they have Derrick Rose, who’s the veteran leader in New York’s young locker room. That’s especially important now that Taj Gibson is with the Washington Wizards.
It’s been rumored that Kemba could end up back where it all started for him in Charlotte, but if the Hornets had an interest in him, he’d likely already be back in North Carolina. Anyways, Charlotte has Terry Rozier.
Similar to Russell Westbrook year in Los Angeles, Kemba’s homecoming didn’t go according to plan. Hopefully, the four-time All-Star will find a new team soon, or else he could end up being waived by Detroit.