Celtics

Kemba Walker says Knicks believe in him: ‘That’s all I need’

"I definitely felt like Boston believed in me, but they traded me."

Kemba Walker Knicks
Kemba Walker visits the Empire State Building on August 17, 2021 in New York City. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust

New Knicks point guard Kemba Walker gave a somewhat confusing answer when asked if he thinks the Celtics believed in him.

At his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Walker was asked about going home to New York.

“Perfect timing,” Walker said. “Really motivated. Super excited that these guys have belief in me.

“That’s all I need. I just need somebody to believe in me. These guys do, and I appreciate that.”

So did the Celtics believe in him?

“I definitely felt like Boston believed in me,” Walker said. “But they traded me. But, yeah, that’s not the case. I don’t feel like they didn’t believe in me.”

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The double-negative seemed to confuse some fans, who took offense to Walker’s comments. Walker was dealt to the Thunder shortly after the season in a deal that sent out the Celtics’ first-round pick as well in exchange for Al Horford. The Thunder bought out Walker, and he landed with his hometown team.

The Celtics had plenty of reason for concern. The point guard played just 43 games last season, and while his per-game averages matched his career numbers — 19.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists — Walker struggled against more dynamic defenders and did not play back-to-backs.

Still, after the trade, Brad Stevens — who coached Walker for two years before becoming President of Basketball Operations — had only good things to say about his former point guard.

“I just really liked Kemba, period, end of story,” Stevens said at his post-trade press conference. “He is a super-likable person. …

“The most challenging part is being in that seat and having to make that call. And ultimately say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to do that’ when you’re talking about a guy like Kemba. Again, coached him for two years, have nothing but great things to say about him. Really good teammate, really good player, really good person, easy to be around every day. I think that’s what made it the most difficult part of it, obviously.”

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Walker said he doesn’t feel added pressure playing in New York City.

“As long as I’m in a great environment around great people I’ll be fine,” Walker said.

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