Walker’s cap hit with Oklahoma City will be reduced by $9,777,778 in 2021/22 and by $10,222,222 in 2022/23, per Smith. The 31-year-old guard had originally been set to earn $36,016,200 this season and $37,653,300 in ’22/23.
It’s a significant concession by Walker, whose new deal with the Knicks is reportedly to be worth approximately $8-9MM per year over two seasons. It’ll be interesting to see whether his new salaries match the amounts he gave up in the buyout, or if he ends up making a little less as a result of his decision to play for his hometown team.
The terms of the buyout also help explain why the Thunder were willing to move on from Walker now rather than trying to rebuild his value during the coming season and flip him for an asset down the road.
Walker, who was traded from Boston to Oklahoma City in June, was limited to 43 games for the Celtics in 2020/21 due to knee issues, but put up strong numbers in the games he played, averaging 19.3 PPG, 4.9 APG, and 4.0 RPG on .420/.360/.899 shooting in 31.8 minutes per contest.
Walker officially cleared waivers on Sunday, so his new deal with New York can be completed anytime. The Knicks haven’t yet announced any of their free agent signings — they’ll likely finalize them one after another at some point, whether that happens today or later in the week.