Report: Knicks’ Kemba Walker gaining ‘no interest’ on trade market

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With several Knicks players being ruled out due to Covid health and safety protocols, there was potential for head coach Tom Thibodeau to activate Kemba Walker off the bench and utilize him this week.

However, Walker has remained motionless, as Thibodeau relied on rookie Miles McBride over the veteran who signed a two-year, $17.9 million deal this past off-season.

The Knicks once viewed Walker as an essential piece in their starting five, contributing elite offense to help take them to the next level. After November, that consensus has been forgotten. The analytical masterminds behind the scenes decided he was too much of a liability on defense to continue utilizing him. He shot just 29.6% from three-point range and 39% from the field. The Knicks featured the worst defense per 100 possessions with Walker on the floor. Without him, they had a top-five unit per 100 possessions, showcasing his polarizing style of play.

With McBride dominating in his past two performances after being called up from the G-League, the Knicks will likely try and trade Walker in the coming weeks. The trade market doesn’t seem to be interested in Walkers’ services, noting his troublesome knees.

According to Matt Moore of The Action Network, the Knicks are having trouble finding a suitor for Kemba Walker:

There is no interest league-wide in taking on Kemba Walker according to multiple sources. Walker was benched to try and kickstart the Knicks, a move that has failed, but the league consensus is that Walker’s knees represent too much of a risk even if his play with New York and Boston was more about situation.

Given New York have him on a two-year deal, letting him ride the bench for the majority of his contract is problematic. They would likely try to dump his salary on a needy team, just as the Boston Celtics did with the Oklahoma City Thunder before they ultimately released him.

The Knicks have been connected to a myriad of players this off-season, including Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers and Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers. Walker will not be the focal point of any prospective trade given the value differentials, but finding a way to trade him and his contract allocations would be ideal.

In fact, the contract Evan Fournier earned this past off-season from the Knicks’ front office is also seeming like a net negative. He inked a four-year, $73 million deal.

Fournier has been extremely inconsistent on both sides of the ball this season. This month, the French native shot 31.4% from the three-point range, a spot he is supposed to be proficient in. The Knicks have played eight games during the month of December, and Fournier has produced single-digit point production in five of those games.

It is seeming like the front office struck out in agency this past off-season, meaning they will try to make up for their mistakes at the trade deadline, which is risky business.

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