DALLAS – Kemba Walker was greeted at American Airlines Center on Tuesday by hundreds of his faces on posters scattered throughout the seats.
Whether intentional or not, the fan giveaway from Dallas was simple to interpret: this was Walker’s revenge sport.
“I thought that was really cool, actually,” Walker stated earlier than tipoff in opposition to 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 house workforce, and there have been two performances, specifically, that had been worthy of celebration — a triple-double on Christmas and his 44-point sport two days prior in Washington.
But taken as a complete, Walker’s tenure was a disappointment. And for the primary time Tuesday, the four-time All-Star defined why his choice to go away the workforce mid-season was easy.
“It wasn’t that tough, to be honest,” Walker stated. “It was a selfish decision, actually. I was looking out for myself. I wanted to get right. At that time, I wasn’t playing much at all. So it just didn’t make sense [to stay].”
At the time, Walker was out of the rotation for a second time. He was solely utilized by Tom Thibodeau in emergency conditions, reminiscent of COVID-19 outbreaks. Walker left for Charlotte throughout the All-Star break and by no means returned, with the group citing “mutual decision” to close him down for the rest of the season. The ordeal was tough to reconcile after Walker’s hyped introduction within the offseason — the Knicks gave him a two-year, $16 million assured deal whereas totally 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 need a part-time participant with an arthritic knee.
“I don’t know [if there was a miscommunication]. They knew [about my knee]. Everybody knows, right?” Walker stated. “But that’s not on me. If somebody is going to put me out there, I’m going to play. So it happened how it happened. That’s just the way it goes. Control what you can control.”
After almost a 12 months out of the NBA, the Mavericks, longing for a playmaking level guard after shedding 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.
“Just trying to preserve me. Try to keep me at a good spot,” Walker stated. “These guys are taking good care of me.”
And whereas Walker acknowledged the Knicks sport carried “extra juice,” he’s not dwelling on the messy season and breakup.
“That’s the way this league goes. That’s the way basketball goes,” Walker stated. “I’ve played a lot of basketball. There’s definitely no hard feelings. No bad blood. Like I said, I’m from New York. I’m always going to root for my team. Ain’t no bad blood at all.”