2021 NBA Free Agency: Kemba Walker Signs With Longshot Knicks
Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images. Pictured: Kemba Walker
According to multiple reports, Walker has agreed on a buyout with the Oklahoma City Thunder to pave the way to signing a deal with the Knicks. This comes after an offseason trade from the Boston Celtics.
The Knicks have struggled overall at the position for years as first-rounder Frank Ntilikina never panned out and Elfrid Payton wasn’t the answer last season, either. The one plus has been the re-emergence of Derrick Rose, who also re-signed with New York this offseason.
Walker, when healthy, provides an immediate upgrade in the room along with Rose.
The 6-foot guard out of UConn struggled to mesh with the Celtics last season, playing in just 43 games as he battled recurring knee injuries. While his stat line wasn’t far off his career averages — he averaged 19 points on 42% shooting — it never clicked in Boston’s rotation.
Walker was traded to the Thunder in June in what was a salary dump for the Celtics. Boston cleared the $73 million owed to Walker over the next two seasons while Oklahoma City picked up future draft picks.
Walker joins Evan Fournier as the team’s biggest free agent additions this season. New York also brought back Rose, Taj Gibson, Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks.
Still, the Knicks remain long shots in the futures NBA futures market. DraftKings listed New York as 100-1 to win the NBA title next season prior to the signing before adjusting to 80-1. They moved from 45-1 to win the Eastern Conference to 35-1.