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#pounditSaturday, June 10, 2023

Kemba Walker could pull unusual move for next season?

Kemba Walker shooting

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

Kemba Walker may be pulling something that we are not too used to seeing.

James L. Edwards III of The Athletic said this week in a mailbag article that the ex-All-Star guard Walker could voluntarily remain under contract with the Detroit Pistons, despite not fitting into the team’s future plans. Edwards reports that the plan has been for Detroit to buy out Walker’s contract and let him become a free agent, adding that the two sides have informally agreed to a number that is a few million below what Walker is owed.

However, Walker has yet to officially accept the buyout. Edwards adds that his “educated hunch” is that Walker is unsure that he will have a new team lined up to sign him after being bought out.

Walker, 32, is on a clear downtrend after posting 11.6 points and 3.5 assists per game for the New York Knicks last season before sitting out the entire second half due to knee problems. He was traded to the Pistons as part of a draft day deal that also sent the rights to rookie big Jalen Duren to Detroit.

It is unusual for a 30-something former star to willfully stay on a young, rebuilding team that neither wants nor needs him. But it is definitely the right business move for Walker (who is owed roughly $9.2 million next season) without an opportunity to recoup some of that lost money with another team. Of course, the Pistons can still get Walker off the roster by waiving him outright. But that would put them on the hook for the entire sum that Walker is supposed to make next year.

There was some recent chatter that Walker might have a notable team interested in his services after a presumptive buyout. But it sounds like Walker himself is not too confident in anything actually materializing.


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