Kemba Walker to join New York Knicks after agreeing to buyout with Oklahoma City Thunder
Four-time All-Star guard Kemba Walker and the Oklahoma City Thunder agreed to an agreement buyout Wednesday morning, making ready for the New York City icon to sign with his old neighborhood New York Knicks, sources disclosed to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti and Walker’s agents with Excel Sports Management, Jeff Schwartz and Javon Phillips, attempted to go to an agreement to a buyout of the two years and $74 million excess on Walker’s agreement. He would now be able to slide into New York’s generally $10 million in leftover compensation cap space, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
The Thunder obtained Walker, 31, from the Boston Celtics in June in what was the primary significant move made by Brad Stevens after he went from training the group to supplanting Danny Ainge as leader of ball tasks, getting the sixteenth pick in last week’s NBA draft while likewise continuing on from focus Al Horford in that deal.
Oklahoma City, which has developed a stash of first-round picks throughout the following quite a while, then, at that point turned that sixteenth pick – one of three in the current year’s draft – into two additional future ones when the Houston Rockets acquired the selection to take Turkish center Alperen Sengun.
Presently the Thunder can utilize the list spot made by Walker’s takeoff to give playing time to their armada of youthful gatekeepers as they proceed their reconstruct. Maturing star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander agreed to a five-year max expansion recently, sources told Wojnarowski, while the Thunder likewise have developed Lu Dort into one of the better cautious watchmen in the league and drafted Josh Giddey and Tre Mann in the first round last week. They additionally have Theo Maledon, a second-round pick from last year’s draft.
Walker, in the mean time, presently will return home to New York, where he featured first at Rice High School – where he once played against new teammate Derrick Rose, then, at that point with Chicago’s Simeon High School, at Madison Square Garden. He then, at that point constructed his legend as probably the best part throughout the entire existence of the University of Connecticut’s celebrated program by driving the Huskies to five successes in five days for the Big East tournament title at MSG in 2011 – just to follow that up by driving Connecticut to its third NCAA title.
He presently will carry on that set of history at MSG with the Knicks, with whom he should space directly into the beginning setup as a critical update over his archetype, Elfrid Payton, and close to individual Knicks rookie and previous Celtics partner Evan Fournier in New York’s backcourt. The Knicks will rely on both Walker and Fournier to support an offense that battled powerfully in New York’s five-game misfortune to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the Eastern Conference end of the season games.
The Celtics exchanged Walker to the Thunder as a component of a turn to make salary-cap flexibility in 2022, just as to more readily adjust a program that had intensely swung toward spending assets on border players, only two years subsequent to marking him to a four-year, $141 million max contract after Walker spent his initial eight seasons with the Charlotte Hornets.
Walker, who made the All-Star group in his first season in Boston, spent keep going season on an arrangement to deal with his left knee, which gave him inconvenience for the majority of the 2020 schedule year. He went on a 12-week reinforcing program for his knee subsequent to assisting Boston with arriving at the Eastern Conference finals inside the NBA’s air pocket in Orlando, Florida – an arrangement that extended into the beginning of last season when the NBA suddenly started sooner than he and the Celtics had expected.
All things considered, when Walker got back to the court, he kept on being a viable player for the Celtics, averaging 19.3 focuses and 4.9 aids 43 games. He then, at that point missed the last two rounds of Boston’s first-round series misfortune to the Brooklyn Nets with a bone wound in that equivalent left knee, a physical issue inconsequential to his earlier issues.
“It’s tough,” Walker said of having to watch playoff games, after Boston’s season-ending 123-109 loss in Brooklyn in Game 5. “It’s been really tough, especially because over the course of my career, I’ve played so many games when I’ve been healthy.
“I came to Boston to be a part of those special runs and be a part of high-intensity games and fans going wild, and I wasn’t able to be a part of that, unfortunately. Just try to get right. I gotta get right.”
Presently he’ll find the opportunity to do that in his hometown.