Kemba Walker’s vengeance game against his former and hometown team, New York Knicks, has to wait for another time. That is, if there would still be another chance.
The Mavericks took a flier on Walker earlier this week in a desperate move to get Luka Doncic much-needed help. But apparently, Walker’s knee issues continue to be a problem.
Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison said Walker could still be a week away from returning to action after a long layoff.
“It’s one [knee]. It’s not good. It’s not good at all, but he’s rehabbed it. And it’s the best he felt in the last two years. So we’ll see how long that lasts.”Mavericks GM Nico Harrison via The Ticket Top 10
The Knicks signed Walker before last season on a two-year deal worth $18 million after negotiating a buyout with the Oklahoma City Thunder following a trade from Boston Celtics.
What started as a fairytale homecoming became a nightmare as Thibodeau yanked the ineffective and oft-injured Walker out of the rotation just 20 games into the season.
Walker re-emerged when the Knicks were battered with injuries and COVID-19 cases and had a great but brief stretch in December before his knee betrayed him again. After the All-Star break, Walker left the Knicks and found no taker in the offseason.
In a twist of fate, the Mavericks signed Walker in their latest attempt to fill the void left by Jalen Brunson, who left them for the Knicks in the offseason. Dallas waived the feisty but undersized Argentine guard Facundo Campazzo to create a roster spot for Walker.
While Brunson is flourishing in a starring role with the Knicks, the Mavericks are struggling to recapture the form that catapulted them to the Western Conference finals last season.
Their embarrassing 131-125 overtime loss to the Cade Cunningham-less Detroit Pistons last Thursday dropped them to below .500 at 10-11 heading to New York.
They view Walker as another ball handler and playmaker off the bench to ease Doncic’s burden. But for how many games or even minutes? That depends on Walker’s arthritic knee.
“Well, it hasn’t been good for a few years, right? I mean, even last year, he had 30-point games on it, but it actually feels better now. So the reality is, if you look at it, it’s just not good, but it doesn’t mean you can’t play on it.”Mavericks GM Nico Harrison via The Ticket Top 10
Walker earlier said he’d ‘got something left in the tank.’ That remains to be seen.
The Mavericks find themselves in a similar situation that the Knicks had to go through last season — gambling on Walker’s knee is like playing Russian roulette.
You never know how many spins you need before the bullet comes out firing.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo