Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker will be just one of many notable names that will be featured on the NBA’s free-agent market this summer and linked to the New York Knicks.
However, the 28-year-old Bronx native might be a perfect fit back in his hometown. He didn’t necessarily shoot down the notion of becoming a Knick, either, per Zach Braziller of the New York Post.
“I don’t have any interest in coming back home — right now,” Walker said. “I mean, I’m home. This is where I’m from. I’m pretty sure anyone that goes home to play where they’re from, it’s exciting for them. [It’s exciting for me when I get a chance to play in front of my family and friends, play in front of the people that know me best.”
It’s better than what the Knicks heard from Kyrie Irving, who suddenly seems committed to the Boston Celtics for the long haul after seemingly toying with the idea of making a move to New York. The New Jersey native had dropped hints in the past about possibly wanting to end up at Madison Square Garden.
Walker was drafted ninth overall by the Charlotte organization and has developed into one of the game’s best point guards over that span. The UConn product is a dangerous scorer, averaging 19.3 points per game over his career to go with 5.4 assists. He’s on pace to hit new career highs this year as he is in the midst of his prime with 25.8 points and 6.2 assists in 26 games.
It’s the perfect time to be doing so in a contract year as free agency looms.
He would provide the Knicks with a legitimate, All-Star point guard; something they haven’t had for decades as this has been a position of dire need throughout the long, arduous rebuilding process.
That rebuild looks like it will soon be over as the Knicks are projected to have two max-salary roster slots available next year. One of them could very well be used on Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant, who has continuously been linked to a move to the Knicks since the summer.
Spending that other roster spot on a talent like Walker’s would suddenly give the Knicks a formidable starting 5 that would already feature the likes of Kristaps Porzingis and Kevin Knox. That quickly thrusts the Knicks toward contending status in a weaker Eastern Conference.