The New York Knicks made the signing of point guard Kemba Walker official on Wednesday morning after a buy-out with the Oklahoma City Thunder finalized. After spending the 2020-21 season with the Boston Celtics, Walker is looking for a new challenge in New York.
As a Bronx native, Walker is coming home, playing at the biggest stage in basketball while trying to regain his form after a season where he played 43 games and struggled with a knee injury.
At this point in his career, Kemba has a degenerative left knee, but at 30-years-old, he still has gas left in the tank and value he can offer the Knicks. Averaging 19.3 points, 4.9 assists, and shooting 42% from the field last season, Walker also offers adequacy as a three-point shooter, connecting on 36% of his shots over 8.2 attempts last season.
The front office is ecstatic about acquiring Walker, especially on such an affordable contract. Heâ€™s expected to earn $9 million per season over two years, which is incredibly cost-efficient based on his $36 million AAV before the buyout. The official deal is two years, $18 million.
President Leon Rose stated on Wednesday:
â€We are beyond thrilled to bring native New Yorker Kemba Walker to the city heâ€™s proud to call home. Heâ€™s a tremendous talent whose skill and leadership will be a huge addition to our organization. Weâ€™ve already seen how well he performs on The Garden stage and canâ€™t wait to witness it on a nightly basis in front of his family, friends and the best fans in the league.â€
Pairing Walker with veteran PG Derrick Rose and draft pick Miles McBride should give the Knicks plenty of depth at the position. Previously featuring Elfrid Payton in a starting role, they upgraded significantly, which should contribute toward better play from some of their complementary pieces. All-Star Julius Randle will also be a benefactor of this move, opening up the floor for more shooting opportunities and taking pressure off him in high-intensity moments.
The team got better this off-season while managing to stay under the salary cap. On paper, the front office to the brilliant job.