Kemba Walker Unsure About Knicks Future After Being Benched for Alec Burks

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 6, 2021

New York Knicks guard Kemba Walker, right, watches from the bench in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Kemba Walker doesn't know if he wants to remain with the New York Knicks after being benched the last four games. 

"I'm not sure. We'll see," Walker told reporters Monday.

The point guard signed a two-year deal with the Knicks in the offseason, but head coach Tom Thibodeau benched him in favor of Alec Burks last week, and he has fallen out of the rotation.

Despite his unclear future, Walker showed respect to Thibodeau.

"I've always been a team guy first," the 11-year NBA veteran said. "It's not about me, it’s about the team. So if he feels that's what’s going to make the team better, then so be it. I'm just going to be here for my teammates. I’m here to help in any way, shape or form that I can."

Walker has averaged 11.7 points and 3.1 assists per game this year in 18 appearances, the lowest numbers of his career. The four-time All-Star averaged 19.9 points and 5.4 assists during the 10 previous seasons with Charlotte and Boston.

Burks impressed with 23 points in a Nov. 27 win over the Atlanta Hawks that Walker sat out, spurring the Knicks' lineup switch, but New York has lost its last three games as Walker watches from the bench.

Though Burks has averaged 17.3 points over those three games, he has only made 37.8 percent of his shots while averaging 2.7 assists.

That could allow Walker to return to the rotation to help a team that sits 11th in the Eastern Conference with an 11-12 record. The Knicks had high expectations entering the year after last season's 41-31 record secured the fourth seed in the East, but the poor start in 2021-22 has raised question marks.

In the meantime, the 31-year-old will wait patiently for the next opportunity to arise.

"I love being around my teammates," he said. "I'm going to cheer them on until I can't anymore. That's what it's about."