18 Aug, 2021
Four-time NBA All-Star Kemba Walker says he is driven to prove he is still among the league's top echelon following his trade to the New York Knicks.
The 31-year-old point guard joined the Knicks on a two-year deal after two seasons with the Boston Celtics, following his career-best year at the Charlotte Hornets in 2018-19.
Walker was an All-Star for the four seasons from 2017 to 2020, but last season battled knee injuries hampering his form and ability to establish continuity.
He only played 43 games, averaging 19.3 points [his lowest return since 2014-15], 4.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.
New York-born Walker fronted the media for the first time since his trade to the Knicks and insisted he is highly motivated to prove his quality.
"It means everything," Walker said. "It's driving everything. Because I know what kind of player I am.
"I know what level I want to be at. It's added motivation."
Walker said it was the "perfect time" to return to his native New York and he was encouraged by the Knicks' belief in him.
The Knicks made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2013, bowing out 4-1 in the first round to the Atlanta Hawks.
"It's an unbelievable feeling to be able to come home," Walker said.
"As far as added pressure, I don't think so. As long as I'm in a great environment around great people I'll be fine."