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NBA Free Agency Rumors: Kemba Walker, Pistons near contract buyout

Walker will try to catch on with a playoff team as a free agent

New York Knicks v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Kemba Walker, the 11-year veteran and four-time All-Star is near a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons that will make him a free agent, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The contract will not be stretched, and Detroit is planning on eating the salary obligation entirely this season, according to The Athletic’s James Edwards III.

Walker was obtained on draft night in a deal that netted the Pistons the 13th overall pick they used to select Jalen Duren. Shortly after the deal was announced, reports indicated a buyout between the young, rebuilding Pistons and the veteran was in the works.

The Knicks also sent $6 million to Detroit in the deal, the maximum allowable, to help facilitate the trade. Walker, who is set to make $9.1 million this season will likely sign for the veteran’s minimum ($2.9 million) and try to catch on with a playoff team.

Walker has struggled with health and a deteriorating set of knees after breaking out as a member of the Charlotte Hornets and reaching the All-Star game from 2016-2020. Walker signed a lucrative $141 million, four-year deal with the Celtics in 2019, but couldn’t stay healthy and was eventually traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The star point guard gave up $20 million on the last two years of his deal so he could sign with the New York Knicks, but he lasted just one season before being traded to the Pistons. Hopefully he catches on somewhere and can be a productive member in limited minutes off the bench for a quality team.