As the Oklahoma City Thunder head into another season that will prioritize player development, Kemba Walker didn’t really fit into that plan. Not only thanks to his age but thanks to his skill set. A ball-dominant guard eating minutes in Bricktown would are the worst-case scenario. removing minutes from Josh Giddey, Tre Mann, Ty Jerome, Theo Maledon, and even causing a weird fit next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
It was in each side’s best interest to finish this experiment before it started. Kemba Walker was traded to OKC alongside a first-round pick (16th overall within the 2021 NBA Draft, which was later traded for 2 future firsts) for Al Horford and Moses Brown (Since traded to the Dallas Mavericks). At the beginning of the offense, it looked promising that the OKC Thunder would be ready to ship off Walker during a trade. However, because the NBA representation market developed the landing spots dried up.
The Thunder, who rarely buyout players, saw that it had been in their best interest to chop bait with the Uconn product. Oklahoma City features a clean cap sheet and therefore the financial flexibility to barter a buy-out with Walker. This is also an excellent preference for the purpose guard and his agent, so it’s safe to assume the duo are going to be abandoning a sum of cash . Kemba Walker is added to an extended list of players that Sam Presti has helped get a player to the place they want to travel.
The hope being in fact, that within the future an agent or player will remember these moments, and return the favor of sorts to the OKC Thunder organization. Kemba Walker is headed to the NY Knicks, Bronx native gets the homecoming he wanted while the Thunder gets the minutes to distribute to the young players that they wanted.
While it’s normal for the fans to stress about the dead cap and cap space, the Thunder are in such a singular position to be ready to handle it without making a dent in the future. this is often something Presti has worked around before. he’s still paying Kyle Singler nearly 1,000,000 dollars this year.