Kemba Walker completes Pistons takeover
The Detroit Pistons and point guard Kemba Walker are finalizing a contract buyout that will make the four-time NBA All-Star a free agent once he clears waivers. according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Walker averaged 11.6 points (on 40/37/85 separate shooting), 3.5 assists and three rebounds in 25.6 minutes in 37 games as a New York Knicks starter last season. The 32-year-old sat out the final 22 games of last season, opting to rest a sore left knee that has derailed a fine career since January 2020.
Walker left the Charlotte Hornets in 2019 to join the Boston Celtics on a four-year, $140.8 million contract in free agency. He made his fourth All-Star team three months into his Celtics tenure, before re-aggravating the knee that had required surgery three times. He hasn’t been the same player for more than two years.
After his 2019-20 campaign, Walker received a stem cell injection in his knee, which cost him the first month of the following season. He rested frequently throughout the 2020-21 season and played in Boston’s last two games in a first-round playoff loss. The Celtics offloaded the remaining two years on Walker’s deal, plus a first-round pick, in exchange for Al Horford from the Oklahoma City Thunder in June 2021.
The Thunder bought out $54 million of the $74 million Walker still owed on his contract, and the veteran clawed back $18 million of that salary on a two-year contract with his hometown Knicks. New York poured in more interim capital in a three-team trade on draft day last week to offload that deal to the Detroit Pistons.
Wherever he lands in free agency now, Walker will receive $27.4 million from the Thunder, regardless of what part of the $9.2 million he negotiates with the Pistons. and his next contract with a new team, all for this season.
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