Former Celtic Kemba Walker is missing October basketball for the first time as he waits for a call

The knee slowed his once-lightning velocity and he was once by no means a plus defender, so Walker’s price round the league dropped significantly. Now, he’s combating simply to assert a roster spot. The Knicks traded him to the Pistons in a wage sell off, and whilst he is indexed on the Detroit roster, he’ll most probably by no means play a sport for the membership.

A buyout is in the works however the Pistons be offering hasn’t been applicable, and till it is, Walker is ready. He made an look at the Celtics-Hornets preseason sport Friday, receiving a status ovation when offered, however all of this adulation, as if for a occupation that’s finished, is untimely for Walker.

He nonetheless needs to play. He nonetheless feels he can play.

Walker maintains he can play at an NBA degree. He stated he feels as just right as he has in years. But when injury-prone avid gamers achieve their early 30s, they grow to be expendable. There are a handful of 30-somethings unnoticed in the chilly at this time, having a look for a one-year, minimal deal to get again in. Walker is one in every of them.

“I’ve got something in the tank, for sure,” he stated. “I feel great. I’m going to be honest. I’m going to have my opportunity. I’m not in any rush right now. I’m just grinding and trying to feel as good as I can. And right now, I feel great. I feel as good as I’ve felt in a long time. I’m just waiting for the opportunity.”

Walker was once a prolific scorer and big name in Charlotte ahead of the franchise made up our minds he wasn’t value a supermax contract and in the end labored out a sign-and-trade with the Celtics. He performed a good half-season in Boston ahead of the knee problems started. He was once by no means the similar.

“It’s never been basketball [performance]. It’s just been my knee,” Walker stated. “I don’t have [anything] to prove. Everybody knows what I’m about over the years, what I have done in this league.”

There have additionally been discussions about a go back to Charlotte, which wanted a backup to LaMelo Ball and signed the more youthful however well-traveled Dennis Smith Jr., who doesn’t have close to the résumé of Walker.

“That would be special,” Walker stated of a go back to Charlotte. “[But] as far as closing my career, I’ve got a few more years left in my opinion, so I’m not thinking about that yet. We’ll see. I’m just waiting. [Nobody’s] reached out to me. I’m just waiting.”

Waiting is the connecting theme right here. Walker hasn’t ever been via an October with out taking part in basketball, whether or not it’s highschool, school, or the NBA. He’s no longer taking part in basketball this October — to this point — and he’s dealing.

“It’s different. That’s all I can really say,” he stated. “Just the support from my family and friends has been awesome, to be honest. That’s how I’ve been getting through everything. Not playing basketball in October has just been different for me. But I’m taking it as good as I can. I’m grinding. I’m working. I’m having fun with my family and my friends. I’ve never not been playing basketball at this time, but I’ll take advantage of the fun, maybe.”

The Celtics signed Blake Griffin as a result of he was once a helpful veteran who understood he would have a complementary position. His days as a cornerstone are over. It’s the similar state of affairs for Walker, and he stated he accepts that.

“I just want to be able to play basketball again; I don’t care if it’s the bench or not,” he stated. “I started off my career playing basketball coming off the bench. Who cares? I just want to be able to play ball like I love to do, being around some great, great teammates and just have fun.”

The Boston days weren’t nice days. He was once by no means wholesome after that half-season. He was once uncovered by means of opposing groups on protection as a result of his balky knee and he left as a broken asset. But there aren’t any regrets about taking part in on the knee, serving to the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals, a plateau he by no means reached in Charlotte.

“I’m a competitor; I love to play basketball,” he stated. “Y’all know me. No regrets. I’ve had a great career. I’ve had fun playing basketball. No one expected me to be here where I’m at from Day One.

“When I got drafted nobody said he’s going to be the all-time leading scorer [for the Hornets]. I can’t complain. I came a long way, man.”

Gary Washburn is a Globe columnist. He can also be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.

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