All-Star Guard Kemba Walker Removed From Knicks’ Rotation

Kemba Walker with Charlotte Hornets in 2017
Kemba Walker with Charlotte Hornets in 2017. Photo by Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has made a rather surprising decision in attempts to get his team back on track. Speaking with reporters earlier this week, Thibodeau confirmed that All-Star guard Kemba Walker won’t be part of the Knicks’ rotation moving forward.

Walker had a promising start of 2021-22, but his numbers have significantly dropped as the season progressed. He particularly struggled with shooting in November, prompting Thibodeau to limit his minutes on the floor. When this didn’t help, Thibodeau opted to try an even more drastic approach.

“It’s a tough decision to make, but you always have to do what you think is best for the team,” Thibodeau said about the decision. “I view Kemba as a starter, and so it’d be tough to play three small guards together. I gave it consideration, and I’ve got great respect for who Kemba is as a person and all he’s accomplished in this league.”

With Walker out of the rotation, the Knicks will rely on journeyman Alec Burks as their starting point guard. They have veteran Derrick Rose as a backup.

Kemba Walker signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Knicks after being waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder in early August. It was a chance for Walker to start fresh with his hometown team, but things are not looking well at the moment. Before being removed from the rotation, the 31-year-old was averaging career-lows in points (11.7), rebounds (2.6), and assists (3.1).

Meanwhile, the Knicks find themselves barely holding onto a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They are seventh with an 11-9 record and sit just half a game in front of the Philadelphia 76ers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Boston Celtics.