For the second consecutive year, four-time all-star Kemba Walker was traded in what was basically a salary dump in the offseason. When the Boston Celtics traded him for Al Horford back in 2021, they included a first-round pick to get Walker off their payroll. The New York Knicks did the same thing when they traded Walker, along with the draft rights to Jalen Duren to the Detroit Pistons during the 2022 NBA Draft.
Given that the Pistons are a young team ushering in a new era of basketball with young players like Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, there’s little need for someone like 32-year-old Kemba Walker, so a buyout was the next step, right? Well Adrian Wojnarowski reported on June 30 that a buyout was in the works between the two sides.
“Four-time All-Star guard Kemba Walker and the Detroit Pistons are finalizing a contract buyout… Once Walker clears waivers, he’ll join free agency.”
However, as of September 8, Walker is still a member of the Pistons. James Edwards III of The Athletic explained why Walker has not hit waivers yet.
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.
Edwards then added his speculation, not reporting, that he believes Walker has not accepted the buyout because he does not have his next team lined up.
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. If that’s the case, 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.
Charlotte Interested in Reunion With Kemba
On July 25, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Hornets were interested in bringing back Walker along with Isaiah Thomas.
“The Hornets are considering a reunion with former franchise cornerstone Kemba Walker among other point guard options… The team is also interested in the potential re-signing of Isaiah Thomas, who had strong play last season and emerged as a positive locker room leader in Charlotte.”
Marc Stein reiterated the Hornet’s interest on August 28, as well as their interest in Elfrid Payton.
“The Hornets are said to have added Elfrid Payton to the list of guards they are considering along with the prospect of re-signing Isaiah Thomas or club legend Kemba Walker, who remains on Detroit’s roster with his anticipated buyout still on hold.”
Jayson Tatum Signs Off on Reunion
When Charania reported that the Hornets were interested in a reunion with Walker, the Twitter account “Legion Hoops” aggregated the report. Tatum would go on to like the tweet revealing the Hornets’ interest in Walker.
This would signify that Tatum still has a rapport with his ex-teammate who he played with for two years.