Tracy McGrady, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups, 2016 Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Rasheed Wallace, and now Kemba Walker. All players came after having good seasons the year prior, but were declining off of their peak. Kemba Walker is on his new, but still expensive contract from the Knicks in 2021 free agency, and is our financial responsibility for now until 2023. Paying Kemba for how he played on the Celtics wouldn’t be an issue, the issue is Kemba is not playing like this is the Celtics.
He has missed six games this season, now being put out of the rotation and not playing in the last five games. In his 18 games this season, Kemba is averaging the lowest points per game of his career. This is also one of his lowest free-throw shooting seasons, his lowest career rebounds per game, and easily his worst season of his career thus far. Kemba being taken out of the rotation is the scariest part of the “Kemba experiment” because if the Knicks are trusting much worse players to take his minutes rather than the experienced veteran. This is most similar to Tracy McGrady and 2016 Derrick Rose. T-Mac averaged a near career low with the 2009 Knicks in every category and was showing signs of the end of his career. Tracy only played two more years in the NBA, then playing overseas to end his career at the age of just thirty-three.
Derrick Rose had a year long stint with the Knicks before he had his revival with Minnesota. While averaging his highest PPG since his injury with the Knicks in 2016, he was a mess. He would be taken out of rotations completely, battled nagging injuries, or would go missing for a game. And yes, Derrick Rose did really go missing for an entire game. People thought this would be the beginning of the end for Derrick, getting signed by Cleveland in the offseason, traded and more trades, only to make it work again being a staple of the Knicks rotation. Hopefully Kemba can either make it work or the Knicks can get a great trade package in return for the veteran.