10:55am: Walker’s new deal is worth $18MM over two years, sources tell Mike Vorkunov and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
“We are beyond thrilled to bring native New Yorker Kemba Walker back to the city he’s proud to call home. He’s a tremendous talent whose skill and leadership will be a huge addition to our organization,” Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose said in a statement. “We’ve already seen how well he performs on The Garden stage and can’t wait to witness it on a nightly basis in front of his family, friends, and the best fans in the league.”
Word first broke last Wednesday that Walker had agreed to a buyout with the Thunder and was planning to sign with the Knicks. Oklahoma City officially placed the Walker on waivers on Friday after the two sides finalized a buyout agreement that saw the 31-year-old give up $20MM of the $73MM+ left on his contract.
Walker’s new deal with the Knicks is expected to cover two seasons and be worth about $8-9MM annually, as reported last week by Ryan McDonough of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link).
Walker, who was traded from Boston to Oklahoma City in June, was limited to 43 games for the Celtics in 2020/21 due to knee issues, but put up strong numbers in the games he played, averaging 19.3 PPG, 4.9 APG, and 4.0 RPG on .420/.360/.899 shooting in 31.8 minutes per contest.
New York has been a little slower than some teams in finalizing the free agent deals it agreed to during the moratorium — the order of operations is crucial for the Knicks, who are completing most of their signings using cap space. The team officially completed Nerlens Noel‘s deal on Tuesday and have now finalized Walker’s too. The others – including Rose, Burks, and Evan Fournier – will likely be announced soon.