Once a four-time All-Star with the Charlotte Hornets, Kemba Walker has struggled to remain a relevant top-tier point guard in the league over the last couple of seasons.
While he did put up solid numbers with the Boston Celtics during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, averaging 19.9 points and 4.8 assists per game in a Celtics’ uniform, Walker has been labeled around the league as “injury prone,” which has led many teams to turn their backs to him.
Playing in just 37 games this past season with the New York Knicks due to injuries and both he and management deciding to part ways, Walker averaged just 11.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, all of which were career-lows, as was his 25.6 minutes per game average.
Now being 32-years-old and recently being traded to the Detroit Pistons this offseason, the former Top-10 pick finds himself at a crossroads with his future in the league uncertain.
No teams have really expressed any trade interest in Walker, who is owed upwards of $9 million in the final year of his contract this upcoming season, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported back in June ahead of free agency that the Pistons and Walker were finalizing a contract buyout.
Almost exactly three months later, Kemba Walker is technically still a member of the Detroit Pistons since the team has yet to finalize this buyout. It is very possible that the Pistons are waiting to see if they can deal Walker for anything ahead of the start of the season and Marc Berman of the New York Post recently stated that the Pistons will not be cutting Walker until he can find a new home.
Not even giving him a jersey number in the release of their training camp roster, Kemba Walker will not be on the Detroit Pistons roster for too much longer, so where could the former All-Star end up?
Here are three teams that could make the most sense as potential landing spots for Walker once he is waived by the Pistons.
Reuniting with the Charlotte Hornets seems like the most logical landing spot for Kemba Walker for a couple of reasons.
Not only would he be a great veteran mentor for All-Star guard LaMelo Ball to learn from, but the Hornets really do not have much backcourt depth and if they are to be competitive in the Eastern Conference this upcoming season, they will need to add more talent.
Kemba Walker is definitely not the All-Star talent he once was, yet he can still contribute at a relatively high level for 20-25 minutes per game and be a very serviceable backup for Ball.
Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball are the only two primary ball-handlers on Charlotte’s roster right now and while they did sign Dennis Smith Jr. to a training camp deal recently, Walker makes more sense for this team, especially since he would very likely be welcomed back with open arms by this fanbase.
In eight seasons with Charlotte, Walker averaged 19.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 41.8 percent from the floor.
Should he be comfortable with the idea of returning to the Hornets as a backup option off-the-bench, the Charlotte Hornets should not hesitate in bringing Walker back.
Trading for Dejounte Murray this offseason, the Atlanta Hawks now have an All-Star duo in their backcourt. The Hawks do not necessarily need to add another guard, but adding Kemba Walker for more depth definitely does not hurt.
Atlanta has made it clear that they are “all-in” on competing at the highest level possible right now and at the team’s media day, Trae Young made it clear that this team wants to and knows they can compete for a championship.
Compared to the rest of the Eastern Conference, the Hawks definitely have a lot to prove if they are to have hopes of advancing to the NBA Finals this upcoming season.
Not only is health going to be a top of discussion for them, but the production from their bench will also be a key question mark heading into the season.
We know what to expect from Bogdan Bogdanovic, but can Justin Holiday, Aaron Holiday and Onyeka Okongwu carry a bench that is littered with inexperienced players such as Jalen Johnson, Vit Krejci and rookie AJ Griffin?
Kemba Walker knows what it takes to win in this league and his veteran leadership is absolutely something the Hawks are lacking right now. As a whole, Atlanta is not that experienced of a team and Walker’s years of being an All-Star and being in the playoffs would absolutely have an impact on this locker room.
Should Young or Murray sustain an injury as well, it is not a bad idea to have someone on their roster like Walker to turn to, especially since he is more than capable of leading a team still.
With Lonzo Ball still dealing with knee issues and in danger of missing the entire 2022-23 season, the Chicago Bulls could possibly look to add a little bit more talent in their backcourt.
This is a major question mark right now though because the Bulls have plenty of guards that they can turn to in Ball’s absence, as Goran Dragic, Alex Caruso, Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu are more than capable of holding things down at the point guard position.
Seeing as they signed Dragic this offseason, it is definitely a long-shot to believe that the Bulls will view Kemba Walker as someone they need, but you can never have too many experienced ball-handlers on your roster that know what it takes to win.
The Bulls are in the same category as the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference where they still have to prove themselves if they are to be a championship contender and wins will absolutely be hard to come by in this conference this upcoming season.
Every game played in the East this season is going to be a battle for all 48 minutes, which is why depth is going to be extremely important.
Kemba Walker can play on- or off-the-ball and is another former All-Star that this team could turn to. The Bulls are certainly a team on the cusp of being something special and adding Walker for more depth, especially on a minimum contract, completes their roster in Lonzo Ball’s absence.