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Kemba Walker expected to hit free agency after 3-team trade to the Detroit Pistons

It was less than 10 months ago that four-time All-Star Kemba Walker landed with the New York Knicks after he was bought out by the Oklahoma City Thunder following a trade from the Boston Celtics.

If that sounds confusing, get a load of the three-team deal involving Walker that went down during Thursday’s NBA Draft.

The veteran point guard was sent from the Knicks to the Detroit Pistons in a three-team deal that included the Charlotte Hornets sending the rights to 13th overall pick Jalen Duren. For New York, this represented a salary dump. It also doesn’t mean that Walker is staying in Detroit.

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Kemba Walker set to hit NBA free agency

kemba walker, new york knicks
Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pistons and Walker are already working on a buyout that would enable the injury-plagued veteran to hit free agency.

Essentially, Detroit was able to acquire Duren for the future first-round selection it got from the Portland Trail Blazers in the Jerami Grant trade. The Pistons also added Purdue guard Jaden Ivey fifth overall.

As for New York, it acquires more cap room to potentially chase after free-agent guard Jalen Brunson next month. Remember, the Knicks had traded the rights to 11th overall pick Ousmane Dieng to the Oklahoma City Thunder for multiple future first-round picks. It’s not yet 100% known what New York yielded to move off Kemba Walker and his contract.

As for Walker, he’ll have a chance to latch on with another team after his career was derailed by injury. Walker earned four consecutive All-Star appearances from 2016-20. Since then, he’s played in all of 80 games over the past two seasons.