Mavericks waive Kemba Walker right before salary guarantee deadline

The Dallas Mavericks waived guard Kemba Walker, the team announced on Friday. The news comes a day before the 12-year NBA veteran's salary would have become guaranteed for the rest of the season.

In his six weeks as a Maverick, Walker averaged eight points in 16 minutes per game over nine appearances.

He signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal worth $2.2 million on Nov. 28, per NBA insider Marc Stein.

Dallas is in a position to continue without Walker, as the team has a group of healthy guards. McKinley Wright IV, for example, recently saw minutes over Walker.

The 32-year-old Walker scored two points in two minutes in his final appearance for Dallas in a 124-95 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

After spending the first eight seasons of his career with the Charlotte Hornets, Walker played for the Celtics from 2019 until 2021 on a maximum contract. His former teammate tweeted a hopeful reaction to the news of his release on Friday.

Mavericks GM on Kemba Walker’s knee: ‘It’s not good at all’

When he played for the Celtics, Walker received a stem cell injection for pain in his left knee and missed the start of the 2021-22 season. He also sat out the final two games of Boston’s first-round playoff loss to the Brooklyn Nets due to continued knee trouble.

Walker's health received a less-than-shining endorsement from Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison three days after the team signed him.

When asked about the newly signed guard's knee, Harrison said, “It’s not good at all. But he’s rehabbed it and it’s the best he’s felt in the last two years so, we’ll see how long that lasts.”

Before signing with the Mavericks, Walker spent the first six weeks of the season training on his own after the Detroit Pistons waived him in October. The Pistons acquired him in an offseason trade with the New York Knicks in July.

In February, Walker and the Knicks agreed to keep him sidelined for the rest of the 2021-22 season as he averaged career lows of 11.6 points and 3.5 assists in 37 games.

Although he notched a 44-point performance against the Washington Wizards and a historic triple-double on Christmas Day, it wasn’t enough to stay in the team’s rotation.

Walker performed well in limited minutes for the Mavericks this season. Before he was signed, he told The Boston Globe that he “had more in the tank for sure.”

Now, the four-time All-Star’s longtime fans and former teammates will look to see if he signs somewhere else.

Guard Kemba Walker was waived by the Dallas Mavericks, leaving the veteran's NBA status in limbo. (Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports)
Guard Kemba Walker was waived by the Dallas Mavericks, leaving the veteran's NBA status in limbo. (Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports) (USA Today Sports / reuters)