It took longer than fans had hoped for, but Kemba Walker’s homecoming to the New York Knicks is shaping up to be everything they imagined.
A native of the Bronx borough in New York City, the veteran point guard made his way into an orange and blue uniform by way of a buyout from the OKC Thunder.
Walker’s got career averages of 19.9 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.0 rebounds over 704 appearances with just two teams.
Now, he’s looking to open a new chapter in his 10-year NBA journey, as a member of this resurgent Knicks roster.
And he didn’t come alone. No, Walker brought an old Charlotte Hornets teammate of his with him to the Big Apple.
Veteran wing Dwayne Bacon, who played with the point guard from 2017 to 2019, is in New York on a training camp deal.
Kemba Walker assisted him 32 times over two seasons together.
But it may take one more to land his friend a spot on this New York Knicks roster.
When speaking with the media after team shootaround on October 9, Dwayne Bacon touched on (via the New York Post) his relationship with the New York Knicks’ latest addition at point guard:
Me and Kemba had a relationship since Charlotte. He was my vet my rookie year and I had him for two years before he went to Boston. And we just built a great relationship. He was what type of guy I was, a worker, always kept the locker room happy and joyful. It just bonded into a brotherhood.
Bacon made sure to mention Walker’s generosity off the floor, a byproduct of their years-long friendship:
He helps me out a lot, helped my family out a lot. He’s just a great guy that you really don’t run into too often and I’m just blessed to have that friendship.
And as far as what the 26-year old has to offer this team, his answer was simple, a little bit of everything:
I can score the ball. I can defend. I can be that locker room guy that I am. Every day I wake up I smile, just because I’m blessed to be in this situation. When my number is called, I’ll take care of business.
It’s still unclear who’s the frontrunner for New York’s final roster spot, the aforementioned Bacon or Wayne Selden.
But if Kemba Walker has any say, it’d be hard to imagine him not advocating for his former Charlotte Hornets teammate, who came to the Knicks in part because of him.
And speaking of recruitment, New York’s point guard let a fun story slip about a part of the draw that brought him to Madison Square Garden.
Taj Gibson Recruited Kemba
When speaking to the media on Thursday, Kemba Walker shared a fun story involving New York Knicks center Taj Gibson.
Apparently, at different times over the last two seasons, he would actively recruit the point guard during games:
Gibson was already a fan favorite prior to this story from Walker, but trust fans only love him more because of this.
The 36-year old, a longtime disciple of Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, has played a large role in the team’s culture shift over the last year and a half.
Gibson is a respected voice in this young locker room, and apparently, the same sentiment is felt by Walker.
A 12-year veteran, he averaged 5.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game last season for New York.