Even though a buyout was reported way back in June, Kemba Walker is still a member of the Detroit Pistons. The latest rumor has the four-time All-Star headed to the Valley of the Sun.
The Pistons roster is getting kind of crowded, partly due to guard Kemba Walker still officially being part of the team.
No immediate decision has to be made, as NBA teams are allowed to have as many as 20 players on their roster right up to the first day of the regular season. But, eventually, some pruning will have to be done.
The most puzzling player on the team is Walker, a 6-foot-1 guard. It was reported back on June 23, that, after being part of trade between Detroit and the New York Knicks, he was going to be bought out.
Walker is 32 and has a history of knee problems, and Detroit already is lining up Rodney McGruder for the ‘veteran guard who rarely plays’ position. In a second deal, the Knicks even sent $6 million to Detroit, presumably to help pay for Walker’s buyout.
But it is now August, and Walker is still on the Pistons’ payroll. Why? Must be a reason, but only general manager Troy Weaver and Walker’s representatives know it. Since there has been no outcry from Walker or his agent, they must be OK with the reason Detroit is hanging on to him.
There were rumors Walker might be headed back to Charlotte, scene of his glory days, to serve as a backup to LaMelo Ball. So far, nothing more has come of it.
The latest team that might be looking at getting Walker, and only paying the veterans minimum salary if he is bought out, are the Phoenix Suns.
An Eastern Conference team executive, speaking anonymously to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney, thinks Walker could end up in the Valley of the Sun.
"“There was talk about him going to Charlotte, and that would be a good story for a team that might need one with the (Miles) Bridges stuff,” said the executive. “But if he wants to play for a contender, he’s probably best off looking at Phoenix.They need another point guard, they need depth behind Paul. Give him a non-guaranteed deal and see how it goes, you can still make a change in January.”"
The Suns had the best record in the NBA last year, but flamed out big time in the playoffs, getting flattened on its home floor by an inexperienced Dallas Mavericks squad in the West semifinals. Chris Paul is now 37-years-old, so having a solid backup point guard will be a necessity, if the Suns want to make another run at a championship.
The mystery of why Walker is still with the Pistons could be as simple as, there is no need to make it official until he has some place to go. He might feel it embarrassing to take a buyout and then be stuck in limbo with no team to jump to.
That is one theory at least. No one thinks Walker will play for the Pistons this season, so him remaining on the roster is a bit of mystery. Time will tell.