With moves continuing to be made across the league on Free Agency day, we now turn our attention to the Detroit Pistons where one of their stars is attempting to free himself.
Kemba Walker looks to ‘buyout’ Pistons contract
According to reports, the Detroit Pistons and star point guard Kemba Walker are in the process of finalizing the buyout of his contract, which will in turn make him a free agent just before we enter the free agency market at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday 30th June. The four time NBA All-Star will of course have to clear waivers, but it’s expected that it will in fact be the case.
Where Walker himself is concerned, the star guard was actually a starter for the New York Knicks this past season, where he averaged 11.6 points (on 40/37/85 shooting splits), 3.5 assists and three rebounds on 25.6 minutes per game during 37 games in New York this season gone. It should be said that the 32-year-old did not play in the final 22 games of the last campaign after choosing to give his sore left knee a break. Indeed, Walker’s problematic knee could be described as the central reason that one of the league’s best hasn’t fulfilled his potential over the last two years.
How did Kemba Walker get here?
When he left the Charlotte Hornets back in 2019, it was as a free agent in the name of a four year deal with the Boston Celtics worth $140.8 million. Following the move, Walker would go on to pick up his fourth All-Star call up just three months later before the aforementioned knee brought things to a halt. Incidentally that said same knee has received an operation on three previous occasions such that over the last two years it could easily be argued that Walker has been a shadow of the player he was before.
So much did his knee cost him that following the 2019-20 campaign Walker actually received a stem cell injection, which cost him the first month of the following season. Unfortunately, there was no miracle turn around to be had as the 2020-21 season saw him having to take regular breaks from play such that he even missed Boston’s final two games of their first round playoff loss. In the end the Celtics decided to part company with Walker as they curtailed the remaining two years of his contract as well as a first round pick in exchange for Al Horford from the Oklahoma City Thunder in June 2021. The Thunder then paid off $54 million of the $74 million Walker was still owed on his contract. Subsequent to that the veteran was able to recover $18 million of what was owed in a two-year contract with the Knicks. Which brings us to his latest team, the Detroit Pistons. Walker was sent to the Pistons following a three-team, draft-day trade last week. What that means is that regardless of where Walker ends up, the Thunder will be required to pay him $27.4 million, while he himself will also be in line to receive whatever percentage of the $9.2 million he negotiates from the Pistons as well as his new deal with who ever he signs for.