Warriors Urged to Make Trade for Four-Time All-Star

Kemba Walker Zach LaVine Bulls-Knicks

Getty Kemba Walker and Zach LaVine battle for possession of the ball during a game between the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls.

Over the course of their current run, the Golden State Warriors have shown themselves to be rather adept at giving old vets a new lease on life. See: Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, Leandro Barbosa, David West, Otto Porter and so on.

So, when well-traveled ballers get pitched as Dubs trade targets or free-agent possibilities, they often warrant at least some level of consideration. Even if they’re past their prime or battling back from some kind of injury.

However, Sports Illustrated’s Ben Stinar may be testing the limits with his latest hypothetical trade scenario.

Earlier this week, the hoops scribe pitched one of this season’s most disappointing players as a potential reclamation project for Golden State. Namely, four-time NBA All-Star and 11-year veteran Kemba Walker.


Stinar: Kemba-Warriors Partnership Could Be Fruitful


Kemba Walker WENT OFF with 44 PTS 7 THREES against the wizards🔥Washington Wizards vs New York Knicks – Full Game Highlights | December 23, 2021 | 2021-22 NBA Season 📌 SHOP OUR MERCH: hoh.world 📌 Follow our Instagram: instagram.com/houseofhighlights 📌 Follow our TikTok: tiktok.com/@houseofhighlights 📌 Follow our Facebook: facebook.com/houseofhighlights 📌 Follow our Twitter: twitter.com/HoHighlights 📌 SUBSCRIBE, LIKE & COMMENT for MORE! #HouseofHighlights #NBA2021-12-24T03:13:11Z

In a March 26 opinion piece for SI’s FanNation vertical, Stinar listed the Warriors alongside the Suns and Lakers as the teams that should trade for the 31-year-old:

The Golden State Warriors are a franchise that keeps players looking young, and makes role players excel. Walker would have fit perfectly in their system back in his prime, but even now he could be a great weapon to add for Steve Kerr to use in a playoff series or as depth during the regular season.

For his career, Walker is averaging 19.5 points, 5.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds per contest with shooting splits of 42-36-84. Alas, he just had an awful season on multiple fronts and the Dubs already have a crowded backcourt (albeit one that’s imperfect behind Steph Curry).

Still, Stinar believes that Walker brings something to the table:

[The Warriors] could unleash him in a scoring role only that would make Curry and Thompson’s life easier from opposing defensives having to worry about the scoring capability of Walker.

That said, even if you’re buying that Walker could rediscover himself in the Bay Area, actually getting him there could be difficult.

As it stands, Walker has one year and $9.1 left on his deal. It may be an easy contract for many teams to absorb, but the Warriors are different. Their insane luxury tax situation and a funky mix of max guys, minimum deals and rookie-scale contracts make it hard to come up with a trade that doesn’t include several other players (unless you’re trading James Wiseman).

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Things Got Weird With the Knicks

If the logistics of getting Kemba to the Warriors aren’t enough to scare you away, the year he’s having with the Knicks just might.

Despite the fact that he was brought to New York to be the floor general for a potential playoff team, Walker got benched by Tom Thibodeau for 10 straight games in December. He showed signs of life upon his return, but subsequently fell prey to the same knee issues that have plagued him for years.

Although he ultimately battled back once again, Walker would never have a defined role in the Knicks’ offense again. And shortly after the trade deadline, the team decided to just shut him down.

Consequently, Walker’s final numbers for 2021-22 are nothing to write home about. He averaged a career-worst 11.6 points and 3.5 assists per contest while hitting just 40.3% of his shots. Meanwhile, his net rating was a putrid minus-9.1.

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