The Detroit Pistons and point guard Kemba Walker are in the process of finalizing a buyout of his contract that will make the four-time NBA All-Star a free agent once he approves the waivers. according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski†
As a starter for the New York Knicks last season, Walker averaged 11.6 points (on 40/37/85 shooting splits), 3.5 assists and three rebounds in 25.6 minutes in 37 games. The 32-year-old did not play in the last 22 games of last season, opting to rest a sore left knee that has derailed a stellar career since January 2020.
Walker left the Charlotte Hornets in 2019 to join the Boston Celtics on a four-year $140.8 million free agency contract. He made his fourth All-Star team three months into his Celtics term, before again aggravating the knee that required surgery three times before. He hasn’t been the same player for over two years.
After his 2019-20 campaign, Walker got a stem cell injection in the knee, which cost him the first month of the following season. He often rested throughout the 2020-21 season, sitting in Boston’s last two games of a first-round loss in the playoffs. The Celtics redeemed the two remaining years of Walker’s deal, plus a first-round pick, in exchange for Al Horford of the Oklahoma City Thunder in June 2021.
The Thunder bought $54 million of the $74 million Walker still owed on his contract, and the veteran made $18 million of that salary back in a two-year contract with his hometown Knicks. New York lost more design capital last week in a three-team, draft day trade to settle that deal on the Detroit Pistons.
Wherever he ends up in free agency now, Walker will get $27.4 million from the Thunder, whatever portion of the $9.2 million he negotiates from the Pistons and his next contract from a new team, all for this season.