Kemba Walker was once one of the most exhilarating point guards in the NBA.
Recent years have seen him struggle with injuries and productivity, but many believe that a healthy Walker could be beneficial to multiple teams if he can just land in the right situation.
Currently, Walker is still a member of the Detroit Pistons. That said – a buyout agreement is likely imminent.
“This is just an educated hunch, Walker has yet to officially agree to the terms of the buyout because, well, a player usually takes a buyout when he’s sure that he can sign with another team and make up some of the money he gave back,” James L. Edwards III of The Athletic reported not long ago.
“So, if you read the tea leaves, it sounds like Walker is unsure that another team out there is interested in his services at this exact point in time. If that’s the case, Walker doesn’t have to take less money just to sit at home.
“Walker, instead, could force the Pistons to pay him everything he is owed, even if they just waive him on their own accord.”
Now, to be fair, Walker recently said something a little different.
“[Nobody’s] reached out to me,” Walker told Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “… I just want to be able to play basketball again; I don’t care if it’s the bench or not.”
The truth is most likely somewhere in-between. Detroit probably hasn’t aggressively pursued a buyout, but the fact remains that the team has little use for Walker. So retaining him and paying him his full contract doesn’t make a ton of sense.
All sides are likely in the midst of a negotiation, trying to secure maximum leverage. Which is seemingly supported by the other point Walker made to Washburn.
“I’ve got something in the tank, for sure,” Walker continued. “I feel great. I’m going to be honest. I’m going to have my opportunity. I’m not in any rush right now.
“I’m just grinding and trying to feel as good as I can. And right now, I feel great. I feel as good as I’ve felt in a long time. I’m just waiting for the opportunity.”
When the buyout happens, though – there are three teams to keep an eye out for.
The Charlotte Hornets would be the easiest fit for Walker. He enjoyed the best run of his career with the franchise between 2015 and 2018, and although he is no longer the player he once was, he could be a stabilizing veteran presence on a talent-laden team.
Beyond that, the Los Angeles Lakers are also a team to keep an eye on. While the objective this summer appears to have been to get younger and more athletic, there is no ignoring the fact that the Walker and L.A. have done this dance before. This could be the time a partnership finally materializes.
Finally, don’t sleep on the San Antonio Spurs. They just lost Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks and are thin at the point guard slot. Moreover, they’re not trying to win right now and would be well-served by a big name star going off with minimal stakes. It could be a win-win for all parties involved.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Dolphins today. https://t.co/Ru8zP3GhUe
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 9, 2022
Walker will find himself a home in 2022-23, that much is clear. If John Wall could do it, so will he.
Where will he ultimately end up when it’s all said and done, though?
Time will tell.