Kemba reportedly a Knick

lexrageorge

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Sources: Kemba Walker to join New York Knicks after guard, Oklahoma City Thunder agree to buyout

How does this impact OKC's cap situation? Is NY going to send them any talent compensation for this?
NY does not have to send anything, as Kemba becomes a free agent once he clears waivers. And an "under the table" agreement to a team to buy out a player in return for assets from another team would be a serious violation of the CBA.

The terms of the contract buyout have not been disclosed yet. They will get to stretch the salary over a couple of additional years. There may or may not be set-off language; if there is, then OKC would see their dead cap hit decrease by half the amount of Kemba's new contract.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Things worked out pretty well for Kemba all things considered. I assume he took some kind of discount in exchange for the buyout, but he’s still going to be getting paid a hefty chunk of change and now gets to play for his hometown team, which happens to be, if probably not a real contender yet, at least experiencing their best run of success in many years.

And this is a pretty smart gamble by the Knicks too, since they presumably won’t be paying Kemba all that much and he still can provide some value when healthy.
 

JakeRae

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NY does not have to send anything, as Kemba becomes a free agent once he clears waivers. And an "under the table" agreement to a team to buy out a player in return for assets from another team would be a serious violation of the CBA.

The terms of the contract buyout have not been disclosed yet. They will get to stretch the salary over a couple of additional years. There may or may not be set-off language; if there is, then OKC would see their dead cap hit decrease by half the amount of Kemba's new contract.
On the stretch part, can they instead do the opposite and accelerate the hit entirely into this year? I don’t see any reason why OKC would want to stretch the hit out to a future where they may be trying to compete again instead of just taking it upfront either this year or over the next 2.
 

lexrageorge

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On the stretch part, can they instead do the opposite and accelerate the hit entirely into this year? I don’t see any reason why OKC would want to stretch the hit out to a future where they may be trying to compete again instead of just taking it upfront either this year or over the next 2.
Normally, the waiving team has the option of stretching the cap hit, or keeping the cap hit on the original schedule. Not sure how it works with Kemba's player option, however.
 

JakeRae

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Normally, the waiving team has the option of stretching the cap hit, or keeping the cap hit on the original schedule. Not sure how it works with Kemba's player option, however.
It seems like the original schedule would be better for OKC. They likely care a lot more about their cap situation in 2023 than this year or next.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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On the stretch part, can they instead do the opposite and accelerate the hit entirely into this year? I don’t see any reason why OKC would want to stretch the hit out to a future where they may be trying to compete again instead of just taking it upfront either this year or over the next 2.
The way I'm reading the CBA FAQ (question #63 - http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap05.htm#Q62) the answer is "probably not" but there may be loopholes that some clever lawyer is discovering in real time.

I said probably not because I don't KW turned down his player option for the next year; if he was that desperate, then the buyout would be on this year's cap only.

I am interested in seeing what the buy-out amount is. From OKC's perspective, they are already saving the amount that NYK is paying KW as I'm sure there's offset language in the buyout. Anything KW agreed to forfeit just makes that deal even sweeter.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Things worked out pretty well for Kemba all things considered. I assume he took some kind of discount in exchange for the buyout, but he’s still going to be getting paid a hefty chunk of change and now gets to play for his hometown team, which happens to be, if probably not a real contender yet, at least experiencing their best run of success in many years.

And this is a pretty smart gamble by the Knicks too, since they presumably won’t be paying Kemba all that much and he still can provide some value when healthy.
That’s the value in being represented by one of the best and powerful agents in the game. Next up for Jeff Schwartz.....Kevin Love!!
 

Swedgin

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The way I'm reading the CBA FAQ (question #63 - http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap05.htm#Q62) the answer is "probably not" but there may be loopholes that some clever lawyer is discovering in real time.

I said probably not because I don't KW turned down his player option for the next year; if he was that desperate, then the buyout would be on this year's cap only.

I am interested in seeing what the buy-out amount is. From OKC's perspective, they are already saving the amount that NYK is paying KW as I'm sure there's offset language in the buyout. Anything KW agreed to forfeit just makes that deal even sweeter.
Historically, when a buyout is linked with a the bought out player going to a new destination immediately for real dollars, the amount given up in the buyout and the amount due under the new deal are closely correlated.
 

benhogan

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Kemba will thrive as a limited-minute PG against 2nd units. Many wanted Kemba to embark on the Lou Will role around here.

Another good move by the Knicks recent mgmt team
 

NomarsFool

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I'm a little surprised by OKC here. We are awaiting details, but it seems like they "only" saved $9 million. My expectation was that they'd rehab Kemba's value a bit and either trade him for something of value at the deadline or after this season. I guess they were pretty down on his value.
 

radsoxfan

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I'm a little surprised by OKC here. We are awaiting details, but it seems like they "only" saved $9 million. My expectation was that they'd rehab Kemba's value a bit and either trade him for something of value at the deadline or after this season. I guess they were pretty down on his value.
It’s a pretty clear indication that Kemba was a MASSIVE net negative on his current contract.

We don’t know exactly what Kemba was really worth on the open market since I’m sure he wanted to go to NYC, but if he was worth a lot more OKC wouldn’t be buying him out.

Score 1 for Brad if you ask me. A cheaper horford and losing #16 pick looks better than paying 57-ish million to Kemba (after deducting 8M x 2 seasons) for nothing.

Totally different situation for OKC, I understand their perspective also. But it goes to show Brad’s salary dump was a good call.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I'm a little surprised by OKC here. We are awaiting details, but it seems like they "only" saved $9 million. My expectation was that they'd rehab Kemba's value a bit and either trade him for something of value at the deadline or after this season. I guess they were pretty down on his value.
I'm seeing closer to $18M: 2 years at $8-9M annually.
Historically, when a buyout is linked with a the bought out player going to a new destination immediately for real dollars, the amount given up in the buyout and the amount due under the new deal are closely correlated.
Agreed. Assuming there's set-off language, I'm sure OKC had a pretty good idea of what KW would be signing for. Question is whether OKC required KW to take a haircut. I can't imagine that would be a lot but it may be something.
 

lexrageorge

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I mean there was a glimmer of hope in late April when Kemba broke 30 in 4 of the 6 games he appeared in. He also missed 7 of the team's last 11 games, and then couldn't finish the playoff series, and was invisible in the 3 games he did play. This after a season in which his workload was as carefully managed as possible.

He'll come off the bench and torch the Celtics for 30, but will then miss the next 11 games and likely be buried deep in the bench by the end of the season.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Kemba will thrive as a limited-minute PG against 2nd units. Many wanted Kemba to embark on the Lou Will role around here.

Another good move by the Knicks recent mgmt team
I will go on record to say that assuming Kemba isn’t sidelined with his knee (a big assumption I know) there is zero chance he is not their starting PG.
 

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I think assuming everyone is available that Kemba will start and play limited minutes, the role Payton played last year but with presumably more minutes. Thibs liked bringing a ton of scoring off the bench in Rose, Quickley and Burks, now he can do that again and have Fournier/Kemba help out Randle/Barrett with offense in the starting lineup.

Edit: Yep, crosspost with HRB.
 

benhogan

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I will go on record to say that assuming Kemba isn’t sidelined with his knee (a big assumption I know) there is zero chance he is not their starting PG.
He's not playing big minutes so if he plays the beginning of Q1/ Q3 that just means the Jays will attack him relentlessly.
Good for the C's

A Kemba/Fournier starting backcourt will put Thibs in an early grave. I'm sure Randle/Barrett won't mind taking half the shots they took last season
 

EvilEmpire

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I'm fine with cheap Kemba. I don't think he is the kind of guy Thibs would ride, even if his knees were good.

A little bit of scoring would be nice. I think Kemba can still do that.
 

benhogan

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RJ Barrett showed some nice growth last year. Sure he’ll enjoy watching Kemba jack 18 footers all game.
Well the good news for RJ is he can expend all his energy playing defense for the KW/EF starting duo.

Plus wait his turn on offense as the 4th option
 

Light-Tower-Power

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I forgot how atrocious Kemba and Fournier were defensively when they were on the floor together. There isn’t an ounce of lateral quickness between them, and Kemba is undersized to boot. The Knicks needed offense so I get it, but it’s going to be tough to watch on the other end.
 

HomeRunBaker

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He's not playing big minutes so if he plays the beginning of Q1/ Q3 that just means the Jays will attack him relentlessly.
Good for the C's

A Kemba/Fournier starting backcourt will put Thibs in an early grave. I'm sure Randle/Barrett won't mind taking half the shots they took last season
The Knicks had a magic carpet ride season and now have changed their identify while having to replicate last years good fortunes. They are at the top of my list of teams to fail to live up to their expectations. Not sure what difference it makes be it Kemba or Rose as they are going to get up similar number of shots.
 

benhogan

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I will go on record to say that assuming Kemba isn’t sidelined with his knee (a big assumption I know) there is zero chance he is not their starting PG.
20 games into the season, once Thibs realizes KEMBA isn't walking through that door there's greater than a non-zero chance he uses his $7MM/yr PG in the role he's really built for now.

I don't expect they'll bench their new $78MM French import
 

lexrageorge

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20 games into the season, once Thibs realizes KEMBA isn't walking through that door there's greater than a non-zero chance he uses his $7MM/yr PG in the role he's really built for now.

I don't expect they'll bench their new $78MM French import
It will depend upon the schedule. There is the obligatory 40 Kemba will score against the Celtics in their first matchup at TD Garden. He'll go to the bench soon after that game.
 

mauf

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At this point in his career, Kemba is basically a league-average player with health concerns. On a max contract, that’s a disaster. On a 2/18 deal, it’s not.

Kemba always seemed like a great guy. I wish him well, except when he’s playing Boston.
 

Jimbodandy

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At this point in his career, Kemba is basically a league-average player with health concerns. On a max contract, that’s a disaster. On a 2/18 deal, it’s not.

Kemba always seemed like a great guy. I wish him well, except when he’s playing Boston.
Yes. That's fantastic money for a guy who can absolutely win you a regular season game by himself when he goes nuts. He just won't go nuts very often, so you're not building an expensive house on that foundation. Makes perfect sense for the Knicks.
 

chilidawg

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I forgot how atrocious Kemba and Fournier were defensively when they were on the floor together. There isn’t an ounce of lateral quickness between them, and Kemba is undersized to boot. The Knicks needed offense so I get it, but it’s going to be tough to watch on the other end.
Yeah it's going to be interesting to watch Thibs try to whip this roster into a top notch defensive unit.
 

mauf

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Yeah it's going to be interesting to watch Thibs try to whip this roster into a top notch defensive unit.
Last season, the Knicks were 23rd in points scored per possession and 3rd in points allowed per possession. Sacrificing some defense for more offense probably makes them a better team, especially when the new guys’ deficiencies on D aren’t due to lack of effort.
 

NomarsFool

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He got $9 million from NY, so he didn’t give up anything for this season, right?
 

TripleOT

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So the 15th pick cost the Thunder $13.6 million. Walker $74.6m guaranteedminus $20m concession = $54.6 compared to AL’s guaranteed $41m
 

mcpickl

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Didn’t Kemba also receive 15% from the Celtics in the form of his trade kicker? If so he didn’t leave anything on the table.
No, this was the reason they got this deal done so early.

Since they traded him last league year, the trade kicker would've put him over the max salary for a 9 year veteran, so it was voided.

If they waited til this league year, he's now a 10 year veteran and would've been eligible for the trade kicker.
 

NomarsFool

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So, I saw another article which showed that Kemba gave up a total of $4 million, over the two seasons. That's in total.

So, for $4 million he gets to play in NYC instead of OKC. Seems like a bargain to me. He probably won't make $4 million in endorsements - seems high to me, but I'm sure he'll make more in NYC than OKC. Well, I take that back. It's a much bigger market, of course, but also a lot of competition amongst all the sports figures.
 

HomeRunBaker

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So, I saw another article which showed that Kemba gave up a total of $4 million, over the two seasons. That's in total.

So, for $4 million he gets to play in NYC instead of OKC. Seems like a bargain to me. He probably won't make $4 million in endorsements - seems high to me, but I'm sure he'll make more in NYC than OKC. Well, I take that back. It's a much bigger market, of course, but also a lot of competition amongst all the sports figures.
The choice wasn’t to play in OKC for $4m less.....the choice was to play in the NBA and not be shutdown like Horford was which would have effectively ended his career.
 

the moops

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Kemba wasn't going to win OKC any games by himself. I doubt he would have been shut down. Or at least not until the all-star break. And also - why would that end his career? Horford's career certainly didn't end because OKC shut him down
 

JM3

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Kemba was the last great NYC PG in the lineage. Returning home while still capable of playing somewhat meaningful minutes probably means a ton to him personally, even if it's a small financial loss.
 

benhogan

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Kemba wasn't going to win OKC any games by himself. I doubt he would have been shut down. Or at least not until the all-star break. And also - why would that end his career? Horford's career certainly didn't end because OKC shut him down
With his degenerative knee, its a coin toss, that Kemba goes IT by the Summer of '23

stripped of elite NBA quickness, he craters
 

Cellar-Door

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The choice wasn’t to play in OKC for $4m less.....the choice was to play in the NBA and not be shutdown like Horford was which would have effectively ended his career.
I don't buy that. OKC shut down Horford in a mutual agreement that he would be traded. Kemba likely would not have agreed and the union would have been involved (and the league office) adn forced them to either play him or trade him.
 

NomarsFool

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Surprising story for Kemba this year. Didn't foresee him actually getting benched. It really is stunning how many players can go from All-Star to bench in such a short period of time.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Surprising story for Kemba this year. Didn't foresee him actually getting benched. It really is stunning how many players can go from All-Star to bench in such a short period of time.
I wonder if he wished he didn’t give up $20m to get out of OKC?
 

Van Everyman

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I find this trend toward acquiring a semi-productive veteran only to sit him “to let the kids play” kind of odd TBH. Even after you factor in the contract stuff in the NBA, when you are shutting guys like Horford down it still seems like a super inefficient use of resources and kind of shitty to the player. I can’t imagine this is anything other than an unintended consequence of the CBA and wonder if they’ll address it going forward.

I feel for Kemba, who I was excited about when the C’s signed him, who had a great attitude by all accounts and who has had nothing go right on the court over the last 15 months.

I thought Jay King put it well a few days ago:
Walker situation a reminder of the past
Monday’s big news out of New York, that the Knicks will take Kemba Walker out of the rotation entirely, was just more proof of how quickly the NBA landscape can pivot. Just 15 months ago, he looked poised to break out as a playoff star.

It’s easy to forget now because of how the last year-plus has gone for Walker, but he opened the 2020 postseason with a streak of excitement. Thrilled for his first chance to build a deep playoff run, he averaged 24.3 points per game on 49.3-percent shooting during a first-round sweep of Philadelphia. Early in Boston’s second-round matchup with Toronto, his numbers were again close to that mark. The Raptors even respected Walker enough to use a box-and-1 defense against him while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were also on the court.

Times didn’t stay that good. Walker’s left knee bothered him more and more as that playoff run continued. The Celtics fell to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, then lost Gordon Hayward to free agency. Walker went on a plan to strengthen his knee, but never could recover his previous form. After the point guard failed to stay healthy through the end of last season, the Celtics traded Walker in June. It was the first move Brad Stevens made while in charge of the Boston front office, and it now looks better than ever. Give Stevens credit for moving on from Walker before his contract became even more difficult to deal, but the Celtics still have a lot of work to do even to return to where they were just 15 months ago with Walker as one of their stars.

The news Monday led me to reflect on Walker’s brief stay with the Celtics. Considering everything that has transpired, I now believe these two clashing ideas to be true:

1. Walker briefly helped put the Celtics on the shortlist of teams with a title chance.

Even with him and Hayward both banged up, Boston almost reached the finals in 2020. With a plus-6.3 net rating despite some bad injury luck, that year’s Celtics team had the statistical profile of a fringe contender. If Walker and Hayward had both been at full strength when it mattered, well, who knows. The Celtics would not have been favored against LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but were one of the few teams that season with a legitimate shot — although in their case, a long shot — to win a championship. Walker helped make that possible even after the Celtics lost Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes to free agency during the same offseason.

2. Signing Walker still wasn’t smart business for the Celtics.

Walker’s knees may have been damaged before he ever signed with Boston. Even if they weren’t, his ability to age gracefully was always in question. For a 6-foot point guard, any loss of shiftiness or explosiveness promised to cause major issues. Unfortunately for him, we’ve seen that play out over the last couple of seasons.

After Irving and Horford decided to leave, the Celtics had a chance to pivot into a youth movement. They could have done everything possible to build around Tatum and Brown, hoping to set up the franchise to peak when those two were beginning to hit their primes. Instead, the Celtics took a chance on an aging point guard who wasn’t enough to make them title favorites even at his best. The Walker era could have gone much differently if he had stayed healthy, but the downside of the signing became all too apparent instead. Even so, it was stunning to see Walker fall out of the Knicks rotation as quickly as he did.
https://theathletic.com/2987267/2021/11/30/revisiting-the-kemba-walker-trade-a-new-found-freedom-and-more-celtics-observations/?source=user_shared_article

The only piece I might disagree with King is that while Ainge obviously got the worst possible outcome from the Kemba deal, bringing him aboard was about more than replacing talent with Kyrie’s departure. It was also filling about the leadership vacuum in the wake of Horford and Morris also leaving. I think having Kemba in the fold was as much about Ainge’s own reservations about handing the keys to the Jays, Smart and guys like Rozier after such a dysfunctional season as it was about adding talent and playmaking. Again, it didn’t work and there were other options, with less downside. But you can see the thinking.
 

lexrageorge

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I thought Kemba would at least be productive long enough to come back and torture the Celtics in the Gahhden when the Knicks return here on the 18th of this month. Still could theoretically happen, but it's clear his knees are in worse shape than anyone had thought when Ainge signed him.

I find this trend toward acquiring a semi-productive veteran only to sit him “to let the kids play” kind of odd TBH. Even after you factor in the contract stuff in the NBA, when you are shutting guys like Horford down it still seems like a super inefficient use of resources and kind of shitty to the player. I can’t imagine this is anything other than an unintended consequence of the CBA and wonder if they’ll address it going forward.
Is this really a trend? Horford was happy to sit out for the 2nd half of the season, knowing he would likely be traded. Not sure how the CBA could change, other than to make it easier for teams to buy out veteran players while getting some cap relief in the process.

I feel for Kemba, who I was excited about when the C’s signed him, who had a great attitude by all accounts and who has had nothing go right on the court over the last 15 months.

I thought Jay King put it well a few days ago:

https://theathletic.com/2987267/2021/11/30/revisiting-the-kemba-walker-trade-a-new-found-freedom-and-more-celtics-observations/?source=user_shared_article
His enthusiasm at the start of the playoff bubble was something to behold, and it does indeed suck that his career is going out so early after toiling for a non-contender in Charlotte for so long. I can understand the criticism of Ainge for signing him, but I'll never understand the Kemba haters.

The only piece I might disagree with King is that while Ainge obviously got the worst possible outcome from the Kemba deal, bringing him aboard was about more than replacing talent with Kyrie’s departure. It was also filling about the leadership vacuum in the wake of Horford and Morris also leaving. I think having Kemba in the fold was as much about Ainge’s own reservations about handing the keys to the Jays, Smart and guys like Rozier after such a dysfunctional season as it was about adding talent and playmaking. Again, it didn’t work and there were other options, with less downside. But you can see the thinking.
Agree or disagree with the approach, but Ainge (and probably Stevens) really wanted add a veteran star. If you put aside the injury risk, the signing made sense, given how much we are currently clamoring for a shooter and playmaker to pair with Jaylen & Jasyon. Hayward and Kemba gave them both, and it wasn't outlandish to expect that Kemba's knees would hold up for at least the first 1 or 2 seasons. A healthy Kemba and Hayward would have taken the pressure off Tatum in the Miami series, and Jayson certainly doesn't get schooled by Butler in the process. Doubt they would have beaten a healthy and loaded Lakers team, but a Finals trip would have been sweet nonetheless, and I'm convinced a healthy Celtics team would have pushed the Lakers to at least 6 if not 7. And anything could have happened in a Game 7.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I find this trend toward acquiring a semi-productive veteran only to sit him “to let the kids play” kind of odd TBH. Even after you factor in the contract stuff in the NBA, when you are shutting guys like Horford down it still seems like a super inefficient use of resources and kind of shitty to the player. I can’t imagine this is anything other than an unintended consequence of the CBA and wonder if they’ll address it going forward.

I feel for Kemba, who I was excited about when the C’s signed him, who had a great attitude by all accounts and who has had nothing go right on the court over the last 15 months.

I thought Jay King put it well a few days ago:

https://theathletic.com/2987267/2021/11/30/revisiting-the-kemba-walker-trade-a-new-found-freedom-and-more-celtics-observations/?source=user_shared_article

The only piece I might disagree with King is that while Ainge obviously got the worst possible outcome from the Kemba deal, bringing him aboard was about more than replacing talent with Kyrie’s departure. It was also filling about the leadership vacuum in the wake of Horford and Morris also leaving. I think having Kemba in the fold was as much about Ainge’s own reservations about handing the keys to the Jays, Smart and guys like Rozier after such a dysfunctional season as it was about adding talent and playmaking. Again, it didn’t work and there were other options, with less downside. But you can see the thinking.
Nice post. Three comments.

(1) Horford and Kemba are not the same situations. OKC sat Horford because the marginal value of improving their draft position + the risk of Horford losing his value because of injury greatly outweighed any benefit that OKC thought it would get from playing Al. In Kemba's case, NYK thought they were paying fair or below value for what Kemba could give them but apparently got not great medical advice.

Horford and John Wall aren't even the same situation as Horford (as noted somewhere in this forum) was pretty much a known quantity and had played pretty well. Wall is not a known quantity at this point and apparently HOU is doing this just to give other guys more minutes and make sure they lose games.

(2) I think people are incorrect about the Cs resigning Rozier even if they hadn't gotten KW. IIRC, Terry had made some very pointed comments about the Cs - I believe we said that he was trying to shoot his way out of town - and he wasn't going to take what the Cs were going to be offering. Remember how much of a massive overpay people thought the CHA contract was?

(3) Definitely agree with you that a good portion of the KW signing was for leadership. Hard to imagine anyone who seriously wanted the Cs to contend to do so without any veterans on the team. The universe where KW wasn't available because he and Jordan had reached a compromise would be fascinating to watch; I hope that's the same universe where the Cs got Duncan and McGrady instead of Billups and Mercer.