On a four-game losing skid, looking at a roster that feels barren outside of Luka Doncic and a few others, the Dallas Mavericks front office took a flyer on a former All-Star. But who knows if it will work.
As reported by Marc Stein along with The Athletic, Dallas has waived Facundo Campazzo, making room to sign Kemba Walker, who is 32 and two seasons removed from his electric All-Star form. The Mavericks were slogging through a stretch that heightened the reality of Doncic needing help as an offensive initiator. Meanwhile, Walker was looking for an opportunity to prove himself in a bench role after being waived by the Detroit Pistons early in the season.
“We wanted to add some flexibility to our offense,” Mark Cuban told Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “Like last year at this point, we have great shot quality, particularly from the 3, but we have struggled to make enough of them. Kemba will give [Jason Kidd] J-Kidd more offensive flexibility.”
Mark Cuban to me on addition of Kemba Walker:
“We wanted to add some flexibility to our offense. Like last year at this point, we have great shot quality, particularly from the 3, but we have struggled to make enough of them. Kemba will give J-Kidd more offensive flexibility.”
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) November 28, 2022
What Walker brings to Dallas
Walker arrives in Dallas with career per-game averages of 19.5 points and 5.3 assists. That’s not the player the Mavericks are getting.
The last season Walker played in New York wasn’t great. He started the year as the Knicks’ starting point guard. Throughout the season — partially due to injuries and bad defensive play — he was relegated to the bench. It resulted in him averaging 11 points per game and 3.5 assists on 40 percent from the field and 36 percent from three in a career-low 25 minutes per game.
But, he still can score in a hurry from time to time.
The Dallas Mavericks needed more talent and a third ball handler.
They add Kemba Walker… pic.twitter.com/teK16X9QMe
— Landon Thomas (@sixfivelando) November 28, 2022
Walker knows he isn’t the same player he was during his run with the Charlotte Hornets. But he still feels like he can contribute to winning. And earlier in the month, Walker joined the Woj Pod explaining what he can still add to a team looking to contend.
“I just know that I have the ability to help someone, to help a team,” Walker said. “I know I can still play basketball at a high level.”
What are the Walker signing ramifications?
In Dallas, Walker will have that opportunity to prove how well he can still play. He is expected to play a bench role, filling in when one of Spencer Dinwiddie or Doncic isn’t on the floor. He adds lineup dexterity, giving Kidd more wiggle room to experiment with his rotations if he chooses. Lastly, Walker adds experience to a group aiming to get back to the Western Conference finals after reaching that point last season.
But glaring in this decision to bring in Walker is the reality of it serving as patchwork to an offseason that saw Dallas undervalue Jalen Brunson, believing it could replace his near All-Star level production easily.
It also brings up the question of when Jaden Hardy, Dallas’ 2022 draft-night selection, will get an opportunity to develop his game at an NBA level. Hardy is averaging 29 points per game on 54 percent shooting from the field and 48 percent from three in nine games with the Texas Legends in the G League.
Maybe he could have been Dallas’ answer.
The Walker addition is interesting, but it does not provide a solution to the deeper-seeded issues plaguing Dallas amidst a disappointing start to a season many hoped would build on last season’s success.
It serves as a band-aid for a wound that needs stitches.
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Feature image via Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports