The Dallas Mavericks have signed veteran guard Kemba Walker to fill their glaring need for another creator in Luka Doncic’s supporting cast.
Dallas relinquished reserve point guard Facundo Campazzo, whose contract is not guaranteed, to create an open roster spot for Walker.
The Mavericks officially announced Walker’s signing on Tuesday.
Walker, 32, a four-time All-Star whose career was derailed by knee problems, has been a free agent since he was released by the Detroit Pistons in mid-October. He averaged 11.6 points and 3.5 assists in 37 games last season for the New York Knicks, who traded him to the Pistons on draft night in a cost-cutting move that helped give New York salary cap room create to sign former Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson in free hands.
Dallas, down to 9-10 after a 3-0 road trip that ended in Sunday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, missed the goals and playmaking Brunson offered during last season’s run to the Western Conference Finals Has.
Doncic leads the NBA with 33.1 points per game, but opponents are increasingly catching him and doubling down to force the ball out of his hands, challenging his teammates to beat them. The Mavs struggle to score when Doncic is resting, averaging just 104.0 points per 100 possession when he’s off the ground. They’re 0-6 if he doesn’t score 30 points, including a loss to the Houston Rockets when Doncic wasn’t playing due to a break.
The Mavs attempted to sign Walker as a free agent on a maximum contract in 2019, but he opted to accept an identical offer from the Boston Celtics. He averaged 22.8 points and 5.6 assists over two injury-plagued seasons for the Celtics, who traded Walker and a first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Al Horford. Walker received a buyout from the Thunder, allowing him to sign a two-year contract with the Knicks.
Walker’s tenure with the Knicks unofficially ended during the All-Star hiatus when the team announced he would no longer play for them. He sat out the final two months of the season.
Walker has been training in Florida this season waiting for an opportunity to sign with an NBA team.
“I just make sure I’m right, make sure I’m ready, make sure I’m ready whenever someone calls me,” Walker said during an appearance on The Woj Pod earlier this month. “I just know that I have the ability to help someone, to help a team. I know I can still play basketball at a high level.”