The situation for Kemba Walker is starting to become a catastrophe in New York. When the team signed him to a two-year deal, they thought they would be getting a version that averaged at least 19.3 points per game like last year. The lineup with Walker, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson looked good. With the team making the playoffs last year, the team was riding high on momentum.
Now, fans are starting to hold back their “the Knicks are back” statements because it’s starting to look like a one-year wonder. The Knicks are outside of the playoff picture for now and have a hole at point guard again. The team was hoping that Derrick Rose could come off the bench, but now it’s forced Alec Burks and Rose into new roles.
Walker was benched because he didn’t fit the team’s rotation according to coach Tom Thibodeau when he announced the move. Now, Walker is a regular to the team’s bench and it looks like the team is going to try and orchestrate a trade. How likely that trade will happen remains to be seen, but if a trade or buyout occurs, these are the five teams that would be the best destinations.
5. Dallas Mavericks
Trade Package: Reggie Bullock, Moses Brown for Kemba Walker
Say what you want about Walker’s decline in points, but you can never have enough shooting. The Mavericks appear to be set with Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. coming off the bench to provide offense, but is Brunson truly better than Walker? The Mavericks wouldn’t want to part with Brunson in a trade given the difference in contracts, but Walker is shooting about 10% better from outside.
Walker is also a respected veteran in the league and could provide some insight on the playoffs. Walker was close to playing in the NBA Finals a few years ago. Playing past the first round is something that Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, and the rest of the team know nothing about.
4. Denver Nuggets
Trade Package: JaMychal Green, Austin Rivers for Kemba Walker
With Jamal Murray’s timetable still on hold, the team could use some depth. Monte Morris has been forced to start at point guard this season. Morris has been averaging a respectable 12.8 points and 4.3 assists. If the Nuggets were able to get Walker, he would still likely start. As for Walker’s first, he could backup Morris this year. The current backup is Bones Hyland, a 21-year old rookie averaging 8.2 points per game.
Even if Murray came back relatively soon, Walker still would have a role. Morris could be the backup point guard and Walker could be the backup shooting guard. Austin Rivers hasn’t done enough to wow anyone this season, averaging 3.8 points and shooting a career-worst 34% from the field.
3. Chicago Bulls
Trade Package: Coby White, Troy Brown Jr. for Kemba Walker
The Bulls are wowing the NBA with their impressive start to the year. Once the team gets over this COVID-19 outbreak, they will have a solid roster on paper again. With Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu breaking out with the second unit among guards, that begs the question of what to do with Coby White? Does White have a future with this team? If not, he could be the first player to go. Assuming that White could be used to get the team another power forward or rim protector, that leaves a hole at point guard.
Assuming that is the case, Walker could come in and run the second unit. He could give Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball a break when needed. He is a professional that is a well-liked veteran, who would fit in well with this group. The Bulls could be in “win now” mode based on their upcoming contract situations and current winning. If that is the case, a player like Kevin Love and Walker could help solidify the Bulls’ mentality of contending for a championship.
2. Los Angeles Clippers
Trade Package: Luke Kennard for Kemba Walker, Kevin Knox
Before the season started, the best fit for John Wall was seen as the Clippers. Those reasons were because Kawhi Leonard was out, Paul George needed help, and there was a vacant area at point guard when Patrick Beverley was traded. Now, Eric Bledsoe and Reggie Jackson have been handling it well enough to where the Clippers are competitive. With that said, if Leonard comes back, do you want to give BJ Boston the spotlight that early?
If the Clippers are competitive with Leonard, a great spot for Walker would be the Clippers. Bledsoe is much more of a shooting guard and he could overtake Luke Kennard’s spot on the depth chart. That would allow Walker to run the offense. The second unit features Marcus Morris Sr. (if Leonard comes back) and Serge Ibaka as well. This is a successful unit that Walker could help make successful.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Trade Package: Kendrick Nunn, Kent Bazemore, Malik Monk for Kemba Walker
If you want to talk about players underperforming, then we can talk about Rajon Rondo. We understand that Rondo is older, but he is averaging 3.4 points and shooting one of the worst percentages in his career. Malik Monk has been out for various reasons. The Lakers need a backup point guard to Russell Westbrook.
Walker would have a true veteran lineup for the first time in his career with Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard on the second unit. If he played the first unit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, these would be the best players he has ever played with. We have seen what Walker can do with some talent dating back to Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. This team is an old, veteran-laden group that wants to win now. Walker is 31 years old, wants to win, and would continue the trend of older players on this L.A. roster.