The New York Knicks on Wednesday signed four-time NBA All-Star guard Kemba Walker.
“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,” said New York Knicks President Leon Rose. “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.”
Per the New York Post, “according to a source, Walker’s new Knicks deal is fully guaranteed at two years, $18 million — no options. Walker gave up about $20.5 million in a buyout with Oklahoma City to become a free agent and sign with the Knicks, who had $8 million-$9 million of cap space left that he grabbed.”
Walker, 6-1, 184-pounds joins New York after averaging 19.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds over 31.8 minutes in 43 games (all starts) for the Boston Celtics last season. In two seasons with Boston, he averaged 19.9 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds over 99 games (all starts). In 2019-20, he was selected as an NBA All-Star reserve for the Eastern Conference.
More from the Post: “Even if it is a fallback option, due to Walker’s recent injury history, the addition could turn into a storybook signing for the franchise should the 31-year-old pan out and lead the Knicks to a second straight playoff berth.”
The Bronx, NY-native spent the first eight seasons of his NBA career in Charlotte, earning three NBA All-Star selections (2017-19), two NBA Sportsmanship Awards (2017, 2018) and an All-NBA third team selection (2019). Originally selected by the Bobcats ninth overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, he recorded 19.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.32 steals over 34.1 minutes over 605 games (560 starts) across eight seasons in Charlotte. In 2018-19, Walker averaged 25.6 points, 5.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.24 steals over 34.9 minutes in 82 games (all starts) on his way to being named to the All-NBA third team. He was one of five players that season who averaged at least 25.0 points, five assists, four rebounds, one steal and shot at least 35% from downtown (Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, James Harden and Bradley Beal).
A 10-year NBA veteran, Walker holds career averages of 19.9 points, 5.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.27 steals over 33.7 minutes in 704 games (659 starts) with Boston and Charlotte. He is one of six players (Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook) with career averages of at least 19.5 points, 5.0 assists and 1.30 steals while shooting greater than 35% from behind the arc.
A three-year standout at the University of Connecticut, Walker averaged 16.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 111 games (77 starts). He played an essential role in Connecticut’s magical run to a Big East title and National title in 2011. In the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, his team became the first ever to win five games in five days en route to a title. His 130 points over that stretch are a Big East record and featured a buzzer beater that helped secure an upset win over the University of Pittsburgh. Kemba and his team carried that momentum into the NCAA tournament where they won six more games capped off by a national title. He was named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after averaging 23.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists.