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Cardiac Back: Kemba Walker to sign with Dallas Mavericks

Kemba hasn’t played since the All-Star break last year

NBA: New York Knicks at Golden State Warriors John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

As if a bowl game, top 10 ranking, and pure domination over the state of Iowa weren’t enough for Husky fans, one of UConn’s best ambassadors got some good news today.

Mark Cuban probably saw the PKI tournament this weekend and wanted a piece of that sweet sweet UConn pedigree, because Kemba Walker, who hasn’t played live NBA basketball since Feb. 16, will sign with the Dallas Mavericks, per a report from ESPN’s Tim McMahon.

Cardiac Kemba was on the Detroit Pistons this preseason, but was waived by the team in mid-October. He was shut down by the New York Knicks last season at the All-Star break due to chronic knee issues.

Walker started 37 games last year, averaging 11.6 points and 3.5 assists per game. He shot 40% from the field and 36% from three, but his size and balky knee meant the negatives outweighed his positives in New York.

The Mavs are an interesting fit for a number of reasons. The Knicks had their eyes on prized free agent Jalen Brunson all summer after the Villanova alum led the Mavs to the Western Conference the year before. The Mavs were also the finalists in the 2019 sweepstakes for Walker, in which Kemba thrilled UConn fans everywhere by signing with the Boston Celtics.

Now, Kemba steps into a Mavericks team desperately in need of a scoring punch to help Luka Doncic, who leads the NBA in scoring. He’ll likely be asked to come off the bench and provide a spark offensively; Dallas averages only 104.0 points per 100 possessions when Doncic is off the floor. Kemba’s fit in the modern NBA game right now is questioned by some, but he is only two years removed from averaging 22.8 points and 5.6 assists in two injury-marred seasons for the Celtics.

It’s finally a break for one of the classiest guys in the NBA, and still UConn’s best alumni representative in the pros. He may not ever return to All-Star form, but he can help a team in the right circumstance.

“I’m just making sure I’m right, making sure I’m ready, making sure I’m ready for whenever somebody gives me that call,” Walker said during an appearance on “The Woj Pod” earlier this month. “I just know that I have the ability to help someone, to help a team. I know I can still play basketball at a high level.”