Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Former Celtic Kemba Walker says he 'didn't know' prior about trade to Thunder

Former Celtics All-Star guard now turned New York Knick Kemba Walker has revealed how he ended up signing with the team he grew up rooting for.

While making a recent appearance on ESPN insider Zach Lowe’s podcast, Walker spoke about how things came to an end in Boston over the summer, as he was traded along with the No. 16th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for veteran Al Horford and Moses Brown.

According to Walker, despite not knowing he was going to be moved, the Bronx native says he did enjoy his time as a Celtic.
"My time there was great," said Walker via The Lowe Post Podcast. "I had great teammates. I talk to those guys all the time, still to this day. To be honest, I didn't know I was going to be traded."
Walker once again refuted a story by Bleacher Report's Farbod Esnaashri prior to being dealt that he and the Celtics had mutually agreed to part ways -- a report that Walker strongly denied, even though he was eventually traded.
"I've seen something where they said "people from my camp" and I don't know, man. I am who I am and that's where I wanted to be because that's where I was," Walker added. "I never wanted to be a guy who got traded. That's not something I wasn't even thinking about."
Following a buyout from the Thunder, Walker agreed to a two-year, $17.8 million deal with his hometown Knicks and will be facing his former teammates come Wednesday when New York host the Celtics at Madison Square Garden in both teams' regular season opener.
"I would be absolutely lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to this first game and the crowd is going to be absolutely crazy in there," Walker said. "I've seen the playoffs, I've seen those guys play against the Hawks last season and I’ve seen how intense the crowd was. So, I could only imagine this season. Having the same guys and adding Evan (Fournier) and myself. I'm from here, which is going to bring that extra loudness to the arena. It;s going to be insane and I can't wait."
After coming off two injury riddled seasons due to an ailing knee, Walker says he's feeling great ahead of the 2021-22 campaign and is ready to prove to the naysayers that he's finally healthy.
"Guys go through injuries all the time. I'm not the first and I won’t be the last," Walker said. "My knee feels really, really good. I've done everything I can to make myself feel as good as possible. And these guys, the trainers over here, are doing their best job to make me feel as good as possible."
The Knicks and Celtics tip-off Wednesday on ESPN beginning at 7:30 PM ET.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of USA Today

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