DALLAS – Kemba Walker was greeted at American Airways Heart on Tuesday by hundreds of his faces on posters scattered throughout the seats.
Whether or not intentional or not, the fan giveaway from Dallas was straightforward to interpret: this was Walker’s revenge recreation.
“I assumed that was actually cool, truly,” Walker stated earlier than tipoff towards the Knicks.
To be clear, Walker stated there’s no dangerous blood towards the Knicks. The Bronx product realized a dream by enjoying for his residence workforce, and there have been two performances, particularly, that have been worthy of celebration — a triple-double on Christmas and his 44-point recreation two days prior in Washington.
However taken as a complete, Walker’s tenure was a disappointment. And for the primary time Tuesday, the four-time All-Star defined why his determination to depart the workforce mid-season was easy.
“It wasn’t that robust, to be trustworthy,” Walker stated. “It was a egocentric determination, truly. I used to be searching for myself. I needed to get proper. At the moment, I wasn’t enjoying a lot in any respect. So it simply didn’t make sense [to stay].”
On the time, Walker was out of the rotation for a second time. He was solely utilized by Tom Thibodeau in emergency conditions, resembling COVID-19 outbreaks. Walker left for Charlotte in the course of the All-Star break and by no means returned, with the group citing “mutual determination” to close him down for the rest of the season. The ordeal was troublesome to reconcile after Walker’s hyped introduction within the offseason — the Knicks gave him a two-year, $16 million assured deal whereas absolutely conscious of his arthritic knee, they handed him the beginning job regardless of the arthritic knee, then they benched him indefinitely as a result of they didn’t desire a part-time participant with an arthritic knee.
“I don’t know [if there was a miscommunication]. They knew [about my knee]. All people is aware of, proper?” Walker stated. “However that’s not on me. If someone goes to place me on the market, I’m going to play. So it occurred the way it occurred. That’s simply the way in which it goes. Management what you may management.”
After almost a 12 months out of the NBA, the Mavericks, anticipating a playmaking level guard after dropping Jalen Brunson in free company, took a flier on the 32-year-old with a minimal deal. Walker flashed greatness with a 32-point effort on Dec. 17 in Cleveland, however sat two straight video games earlier than Tuesday’s Knicks conflict for knee upkeep.
“Simply making an attempt to protect me. Attempt to maintain me at a great place,” Walker stated. “These guys are taking excellent care of me.”
And whereas Walker acknowledged the Knicks recreation carried “additional juice,” he’s not dwelling on the messy season and breakup.
“That’s the way in which this league goes. That’s the way in which basketball goes,” Walker stated. “I’ve performed loads of basketball. There’s positively no arduous emotions. No dangerous blood. Like I stated, I’m from New York. I’m all the time going to root for my workforce. Ain’t no dangerous blood in any respect.”