Dallas Mavericks waive Kemba Walker to avoid his contract fully guaranteeing

Dallas Mavericks, Kemba Walker
Dallas Mavericks, Kemba Walker / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks officially waived point guard Kemba Walker on Jan. 6. They signed him to be their third-string point guard in late November, but Walker did not make his Mavericks debut until Dec. 10. The four-time All-Star showed flashes, but he is no longer that player. He did have a 32-point game as he nearly led the Mavs to an upset win over the Cavaliers.

The front office had to decide what to do by Jan. 7. That is the final day to waive a player before their contract becomes fully guaranteed for the season. Walker signed a non-guaranteed contract in November, and the team decided to move.

Here is a closer look at why the Dallas Mavericks released Kemba Walker on Friday morning before jumping into what the team will do to fill that role moving forward.

Dallas Mavericks waive Kemba Walker to avoid his contract fully guaranteeing

Walker showed flashes, but after playing 13 or more minutes in four straight games, he was forced to miss two with a knee injury. Kemba’s knee has been problematic in recent years and is one of the reasons he was unsigned during the offseason. The veteran point guard just cannot be a nightly part of the rotation at this stage in his career, so the Mavs decided to move on.

McKinley Wright IV entered the rotation on Dec. 23 and played in every game since. The Mavs are shorthanded with Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Green, and Maxi Kleber out during that stretch, but Wright IV has been the team’s third-string point guard and has played well in that role. Expect him to stick until the Mavericks get healthy.

Brad Townsend reports the team is considering giving rookie Jaden Hardy a crack at the third string point guard role. He scored 15 points in 15 minutes against the Celtics on Jan. 5, and the 20-year-old has plenty of talent. It will be interesting to see what he can do with an increased opportunity if he is given the chance.

Dallas will likely cycle through some ten-day contracts before looking to make a trade for another ball-handler before the Feb. 9 deadline. Who can the Mavs find to fill that role? What type of deal can the front office make? Stay tuned to find out.

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