Why hasn’t Kemba Walker been bought out yet?

With the season nearing and training camp getting closer by the day, Kemba Walker is still a member of the Detroit Pistons, at least for the time being.

In what may be a bit of a head-scratcher to fans, Walker remains with the Pistons more than two months after originally being traded to Detroit from New York during June’s NBA draft. At the time of the deal, it seemed rather straightforward; the Pistons would buy out Walker’s contract, and the veteran point guard would be free to sign with any team that wanted him.

The most obvious landing spot was the Charlotte Hornets, especially once they decided to bring back Steve Clifford, who coached Walker for five of his eight seasons in Charlotte. Even as the weeks began to go by, reports of the Hornets’ interest in Walker continued to circulate.

So, why is Walker still in Detroit?

Essentially, Walker is still searching for his next landing spot.  Per James L. Edwards of The Athletic, Walker and the Pistons had agreed upon a reduced dollar figure for a buyout, allowing the veteran to hit the free agent market while Detroit could shift its focus to their existing nucleus of young guards.

In such a case, Walker would benefit by finding a better situation for himself while Detroit would benefit by saving some money in the process. However, the plan only works if there is a market for Walker’s services, allowing him to recoup some or all of the money that he would sacrifice by accepting the reduced buyout figure.

With NBA training camps taking place later this month and with the tipoff of the 2022-23 season just over a month away, time is becoming a factor in this ongoing saga. While Charlotte still theoretically makes sense for Walker, it will be up to the front office to make such a move happen.