Kemba Walker was 'fairly shut' to becoming a member of Knicks in 2019, teaming with Kevin Durant
Kemba Walker joined the Celtics throughout the summer season of 2019. However how shut was he to becoming a member of the Knicks as an alternative?
“Fairly shut,” Walker mentioned throughout his introductory information convention with New York.
Walker grew up in The Bronx, N.Y., and performed a number of the greatest basketball of his profession in Madison Sq. Backyard throughout the 2011 Huge East Event. Going to the Knicks would appear pure, proper?
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Sure, however Walker wished to be joined by one other celebrity in New York. Kevin Durant was his prime possibility, as Marc Berman of the New York Publish studies.
In line with an NBA supply, Walker wished to group with Kevin Durant when the Knicks had cap house for 2 max gamers.
That did not find yourself taking place. Durant as an alternative signed with the Nets to pair with Kyrie Irving. And as soon as that occurred, the Knicks and Walker determined it wasn’t a good suggestion to group up, per Berman.
When Durant and Irving in the end signed with the Nets, the Knicks and Walker mutually agreed it was not a good suggestion to carry him to New York with out one other present All-Star.
Walker then determined to signal with the Celtics to switch Irving and be a part of a Boston squad that was coming off a disappointing loss within the Japanese Convention semifinals to the Bucks. Nonetheless, they have been only a yr faraway from taking the LeBron James-led Cavaliers to seven video games within the Japanese Convention finals with Irving sidelined.
After all, Walker’s time in Boston did not go too nicely. He helped the Celtics attain the Japanese Convention finals throughout the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 NBA season that resulted in “The Bubble,” however he struggled with a knee harm the subsequent yr. He averaged 19.9 factors and 4.8 assists per sport in two seasons with the Celtics earlier than being traded to the Thunder.
After Oklahoma Metropolis purchased him out, Walker lastly landed in New York Metropolis and can now look to spherical again into type and assist the Knicks turn into a contender.
New York went 41-31 final yr and surprisingly completed with the fourth-best document within the Japanese Convention. Julius Randle has developed into an All-Star expertise whereas Tom Thibodeau introduced a brand new defensive depth to the group. They’re hoping that Walker, 31, can keep wholesome and supply a stable scoring possibility at level guard to enhance Randle.
However no matter occurs, Walker is simply glad that he’s getting a probability to characterize his hometown group.
“My guys, my house group, the Knicks, they believed in me,” Walker mentioned throughout his information convention. “And I’m right here now. No matter occurred up to now is irrelevant at this level.”