Walker Joins Knicks After Thunder Buyout

By on
Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics shoots against Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter in Game Four
Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics shoots against Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter in Game Four GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / POOL

The New York Knicks have found their point guard in one of the most surprising moves of the 2021 NBA offseason. Kemba Walker, who grew up in New York City, is headed to the Big Apple with the Oklahoma City Thunder allowing the point guard to hit free agency.

Oklahoma City and Walker have agreed to a buyout on the two years and $74 million left on the 31-year-old’s contract, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. When Walker clears waivers, he’s expected to officially join the Knicks.

New York will offer Walker a contract worth about $8 million per year, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. It’s not yet known what portion of the $74 million Oklahoma City agreed to pay Walker.

The Knicks had seemingly struck out in their pursuit of signing a free-agent point guard. Chris Paul stayed with the Phoenix Suns. Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball went to the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, respectively, via sign-and-trade. 

Derrick Rose re-signed with the Knicks on a reported three-year, $43 million contract. Evan Fournier was New York’s biggest addition in free agency.

In June, the Boston Celtics traded Walker, the No. 16 pick in this year’s draft and a 2025 second-round pick to Oklahoma City for Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-rounder. 

There is concern that Walker has a chronic knee injury, which will prevent him from returning to his All-Star-level of play. In two seasons with the Celtics, Walker missed 45 of the team’s 144 regular-season games.

Walker was an All-Star each year from 2017 to 2020. In 43 games this past season, the veteran averaged 19.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. Walker made 36% of his 3-point attempts.

As the No. 4 seed in the East, the Knicks were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs in five games by the Atlanta Hawks.




Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / POOL

Join the Discussion