Knicks’ Banished Floor General Could Land With Former Team: Report

Kemba Walker Knicks-Hornets

Getty Kemba Walker looks on prior to a game between the New York Knicks and the Charlotte Hornets.

The New York Knicks have been the hottest mess in the Association this season, following up on their promising 2020-21 campaign with a rapid descent back into the lottery range. And the reasons for their sudden and unexpected downfall are many.

However, the ill-fated Kemba Walker experiment warrants special mention as a contributing factor.

When the Knicks were able to sign Walker to a two-year, $17.9 million deal last summer, some considered it the steal of the offseason. However, by late November, Tom Thibodeau was already over the partnership, benching the four-time All-Star unceremoniously.

Although Walker eventually returned to the court — and even showed signs of life for a brief time — the two sides ultimately agreed that it would be in their mutual best interest for him to just go away for the rest of the season.

Flash forward to now and there are rumblings that the 31-year-old could seek redemption by returning to his old stomping grounds.

Walker Back to Charlotte?

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On Friday, the New York Post’s Marc Berman updated the situation between Walker and the Knicks, comically noting that Thibodeau has apparently stopped caring where the point guard is or what he’s doing.

The real story, though, was this little nugget about where Walker could ply his trade next:

According to an NBA source, Walker has been training in Charlotte, N.C., his former home, and New York, shuttling back and forth. Walker’s mother still lives in the “Queen City,” and the Hornets could be a future destination as he played there eight seasons.

Obviously, Walker returning to the Hornets would be a big deal. Fan nostalgia aside, he would be a nice backup for franchise cornerstone LaMelo Ball and a strong veteran presence both on the floor and in the locker room for a team looking to lock down a spot among the East’s playoff regulars.

That said, he doesn’t have a clear path to re-joining the Hornets at this moment in time.

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Can the Two Sides Work out a Deal?

It would seem that Walker and the Knicks have reached a point where a contract buyout is the next logical move, especially after Leon Rose failed to find a trade for the baller ahead of the February deadline. Alas, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards here.

“There are a number of teams who would love to have Kemba Walker in a buyout,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on NBA Today last month. “That’s not gonna happen. He’s not interested in that with New York.”

With that being the case, Berman noted that the Knicks and Hornets would have to work out some kind of deal in order for him to return to his old club.

“The likeliest scenario is the Knicks trading Walker’s expiring contract in a deal on draft night in late June,” he wrote.


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