Kemba Walker, Pistons Reportedly Finalizing Contract Buyout After Knicks Trade

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 30, 2022

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 8: Kemba Walker #8 of the New York Knicks looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on February 8, 2022 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons are finalizing a buyout with recently acquired guard Kemba Walker, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday.

A three-team trade between the Pistons, New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets was made official the day after the 2022 NBA draft last week, and it saw Walker go from New York to Detroit.

In addition to Walker, the Pistons acquired the draft rights to No. 13 overall pick Jalen Duren. The Hornets picked up five draft picks, including the Denver Nuggets' 2023 first-round selection, while the Knicks landed the Milwaukee Bucks' 2025 first-rounder.

The move was largely a salary dump for the Knicks, who later traded center Nerlens Noel and wing Alec Burks to the Pistons as well. New York is rumored to be pursuing Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson in free agency.

Last season was a struggle for the 32-year-old Walker, who moved in and out of the rotation and didn't play after Feb. 16.

He put up career-worst numbers with 11.6 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 0.7 steals per game in 37 appearances, all of which were starts.

Walker did make 2.0 three-pointers per game and shot a solid 36.7 percent from beyond the arc, but his field-goal percentage of 40.3 percent was his worst since the 2014-15 season, and he played a career-low 25.6 minutes per game as well.

Overall, the Knicks didn't get much return on investment after signing Walker to a two-year deal worth nearly $18 million.

Walker broke into the NBA as the No. 9 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft to the then-Charlotte Bobcats after a spectacular collegiate career at UConn.

He spent his first eight NBA seasons with the Bobcats/Hornets franchise, earning three of his four career All-Star selections during that time and averaging 20 or more points per game in a season four times, including a career-high 25.6 in 2018-19.

Walker moved to the Boston Celtics as part of a sign-and-trade deal in 2019, and he spent two seasons in Boston, earning an All-Star nod in his first campaign with the team.

He has appeared in 741 regular-season games during his 11-year NBA career, averaging 19.5 points, 5.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 2.2 three-pointers made and 1.2 steals.

Walker may no longer be All-Star material or a No. 1 scoring option, but he could still be an offensive spark plug for a team in need of some scoring punch, especially if he is willing to come off the bench.

He is an excellent shooter and capable of scoring in bunches, so he shouldn't have much trouble landing elsewhere even in the wake of a disastrous 2021-22 season.