Ever since the New York Knicks traded former Boston Celtics all-star Kemba Walker to the Detroit Pistons on draft night, it seemed inevitable that Walker would hit the buyout market. On June 30, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Walker and the Pistons were finalizing a buyout. However, Walker still remains with the Pistons as of September 28.
This saga has dragged on to training camp, as according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Walker is not only not attending training camp, but he’s not even on the Pistons training camp roster, and they haven’t assigned him a number.
This would indicate that no matter how this all ends, Walker will not be playing a minute for the Pistons. While the Pistons are expected to be one of the worst teams in the league this year, they acquired quite a few veterans during the offseason, like Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, and their latest offseason acquisition, Bojan Bogdanovic.
Acquiring those three would indicate that playing the Pistons will not be an easy win for their opponents this season when you add them to the talented young players they have on their roster like Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. Walker could join in, which could rehabilitate his value as a player, but neither he nor the Pistons see it that way.
Why Walker Remains a Piston
On September 7, James Edwards III of The Athletic confirmed that while the Pistons and Walker had agreed on the amount of money they would pay him once he was bought out, Walker has not officially agreed to it. Edwards went on to explain why he believes Walker hasn’t officially been bought out.
Per sources, the Pistons and Walker had agreed on a number, which was a few million less than what he’s owed. However, and this is just an *educated hunch,* Walker has yet to officially agree to the terms of the buyout because, well, a player usually takes a buyout when he’s sure that he can sign with another team and make up some of the money he gave back. So, if you read the tea leaves, it sounds like Walker is unsure that another team out there is interested in his services at this exact point in time.
Edwards then explained why Walker is going this route with the Pistons.
“Walker doesn’t have to take less money just to sit at home. Walker, instead, could force the Pistons to pay him everything he is owed, even if they just waive him on their own accord. To sum it all up in one sentence: It feels like Walker doesn’t have another team lined up right now, and there is no point in him taking less money until he does.”
Walker is slated to make $9,165,471 for the 2022-23 season, according to Spotrac. Walker is also going to be paid $27,431,078 by the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to Spotrac, after he was bought out by them in 2021.
Walker Could Head Back to Charlotte
While Edwards reported that Walker not having his next team lined up would explain why he hasn’t taken the buyout, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on July 25 that the Charlotte Hornets were reportedly interested in a reunion with Walker, as well as Isaiah Thomas, when he supposedly hit the market.
Walker spent the first eight years of his career with the Hornets, making the all-star team three times with them while making the All-NBA third team in 2019 before jettisoning for the Celtics.