Knicks Rumors: Kemba Walker's Contract Worth $18M over 2 Years

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 11, 2021

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 17:  Kemba Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics is fouled by Mitchell Robinson #23 of the New York Knicks as he dives to the basket and scores during a game at TD Garden on January 17, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Kemba Walker's contract with the New York Knicks is reportedly for two years and $18 million, according to Mike Vorkunov and Shams Charania of The Athletic. 

Team president Leon Rose expressed excitement about bringing the New York native to the organization:

Marc Berman @NYPost_Berman

Leon Rose in statement: "We are beyond thrilled to bring native New Yorker Kemba Walker back to the city he’s proud to call home. He’s a tremendous talent whose skill and leadership will be a huge addition to our organization.'' <a href="https://t.co/4iAYGQZr8W">https://t.co/4iAYGQZr8W</a>

Brian Mahoney @briancmahoney

Leon Rose statement about Knicks’ signing of Kemba Walker. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UConn?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UConn</a> <br><br>“We’ve already seen how well he performs on The Garden stage and can’t wait to witness it on a nightly basis in front of his family, friends and the best fans in the league.”

Walker, 31, has had quite the offseason. First, the Boston Celtics traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal that reunited veteran center Al Horford with the Celtics. 

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

The Celtics are trading Kemba Walker, the No. 16 overall pick in the 2021 draft and a 2025 second-round draft pick to Oklahoma City for Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round pick, sources tell ESPN.

Then, Walker agreed to a buyout with the Thunder, reportedly giving up $20 million. 

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Kemba Walker gave up $20M total in his buyout/waiver with the Oklahoma City Thunder, sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/spotrac?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@spotrac</a>.<br><br>Walker gave up $9,777,778 in 2021-22 and $10,222,222 in 2022-23.

That cleared the way for him to sign with the Knicks, where he'll join an interesting core that includes Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Derrick Rose, Evan Fournier, Mitchell Robinson and Immanuel Quickley, among others. Walker will likely start for the Knicks alongside Fournier, Barrett, Randle and Robinson, with Rose, Quickley, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Obi Toppin coming off the bench. 

The Knicks' ceiling will be at least partially tied to the version of Walker they get. If he plays like the four-time All-Star who averaged 25.6 points and 5.9 assists per game in his final season with the Charlotte Hornets in 2018-19, the Knicks—who were excellent defensively last season but struggled to score in the half-court come the playoffs—should build upon their 2020-21 success. 

But if he struggles with injuries and his quality dips in turn, as it did in his two seasons with the Boston Celtics (19.9 PPG, 4.8 APG), the Knicks likely are looking at being a one-and-done team yet again, assuming they reach the playoffs in an Eastern Conference that has seen a number of squads improve around them. 

Regardless, New York City seems happy to have the Bronx native back home. 

"[Carmelo Anthony] was the first real star you saw from the Knicks who was in the community," Walker's friend and former teammate at Rice High School Kashif Pratt told Zach Braziller of the New York Post. "I feel like I never saw Melo sign an autograph. You didn't really need Melo for an autograph because you knew you would see him again. I think it's going to be the same with Kemba. Knicks fans are going to love him."