After being traded to the Detroit Pistons on draft night from the New York Knicks, Kemba Walker and the Pistons have come to an agreement on a contract buyout, per Adrian Wojnarowski. Once Walker clears waivers, the four-time All-Star will become an unrestricted free agent. The Pistons will pay Walker $9.2 million next season, which was the amount left on his contract that he signed with the Knicks.
There haven’t been any reported teams attached to Walker just yet, though that could change as some of the big names come off the boards and teams focus on contingency plans in free agency. One team that comes to mind is the Los Angeles Lakers, who could use part of their $6.4 million Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception to bring in Walker. In that situation Walker would come off the bench if the Lakers are unable to trade Russell Westbrook, who opted into his $47 million player option for next season.
Though Walker’s time with the Knicks was mostly disappointing, averaging career lows of 11.6 points, 3.5 assists and three rebounds, that was in part due to a knee injury that’s plagued him going back to his time with the Boston Celtics. He was limited to just 37 games with the Knicks last season, and at one point was taken out of the rotation altogether due to his poor play.
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However, perhaps he’ll manage to bounce back in a different role on a team that won’t need him to be the primary source of offense.
If Walker is open to the idea of coming off the bench on a championship-contending team, he would surely be a huge spark plug with the way he’s capable of lighting opposing teams up.