The Los Angeles Lakers may have a chance to land four-time All-Star Kemba Walker with a growing buzz that the point guard will reach a buyout after being traded to the Detroit Pistons. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Walker and the Pistons are expected to reach a buyout after the veteran was a part of a three-team trade with the Hornets and Knicks.
“Kemba Walker and the Pistons are expected to discuss a contract buyout that will allow him to become a free agent, sources tell ESPN,” Wojnarowski tweeted on June 23, 2022. “Walker landed with Detroit as part of three-way trade with Charlotte and New York.”
Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz linked the Lakers to Walker during his “bold predictions” for free agency. Swartz views the Lakers appealing situation as enough to win over Walker despite Los Angeles lacking cap space.
“While teams like the Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets (depending on Kyrie Irving’s future), Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers could all use another ball-handler off the bench, Walker will undoubtedly receive a lot of recruiting from the boys in purple and gold,” Swartz explained. “…The Lakers are extremely limited in what they can spend, so getting Walker on a minimum deal would be a great value, even if he’s no longer close to being the All-Star we saw as recently as the 2019-20 season. Look for Walker to get his buyout from the Pistons and sign with the Lakers for the veteran’s minimum while still getting paid by the Oklahoma City Thunder and now Detroit as well.”
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Walker on James: ‘LeBron Is a Different Breed’
Walker never quite clicked with the Knicks last season and the guard has battled injuries in recent years since being an All-Star for four straight seasons with the Hornets and Celtics. The veteran guard averaged 11.6 points, 3.5 assists and three rebounds while shooting 36.7% from long range during his 37 appearances.
Walker is just one season removed from notching 19.3 points, 4.9 assists and four rebounds per game in 43 contests with the Celtics in 2020-21. The former All-NBA player has been a longtime fan of LeBron James, who could play a role in attempting to recruit Walker to Los Angeles for less money.
“Man, LeBron is a different breed,” Walker noted during a January 2021 interview, per NESN.com. “He’s just incredible. And it’s inspiring for the most part, to see someone who just takes care of his body, takes care of his self, always every year proves the doubters wrong. Always so much pressure on that man and he always comes through regardless of what’s said about him. Like I said, he’s really just an inspiring person in our world. He’s someone that everyone looks up to, wishes to be like. He’s a special talent.”
There Is an ‘Expectation’ That Kyrie Will Find a ‘New Home’: Report
The Lakers also appear to be monitoring Kyrie Irving’s future with talks between himself and the Nets at a standstill. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the “expectation” is that Irving will find a “new home”, most likely by opting in to the final season of his contract then pushing for a trade. The NBA insider labeled the Lakers as a top contender to land Irving.
“There’s an expectation that Kyrie Irving will now proceed shortly into finding a new home via an opt-in and trade potential situation,” Charania detailed on June 23. “And there are several teams that he would likely consider. Some of them I reported earlier this week, when you look at the Lakers, the Knicks, the Clippers. Those are three suitors that are expected to emerge out of probably several teams that would have interest in acquiring Kyrie Irving via sign-and-trade.”