Mavs waive veteran Kemba Walker ahead of guarantee deadline

Kemba Walker ties the game in final seconds for the Mavs (0:41)

Kemba Walker drives to the hoop in the final seconds to tie the score at 96-96 for the Mavericks. (0:41)

DALLAS -- The Mavericks are waiving guard Kemba Walker a day before the four-time All-Star's salary would have become guaranteed for the rest of the season, the team announced Friday morning.

Walker, 32, averaged 8.0 points and 2.1 assists in nine games with the Mavericks. He signed for the veteran's minimum in late November.

The highlight of Walker's stint in Dallas was a 32-point performance in a 100-99 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 17, when Mavs starting guards Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie did not play.

The Mavs opted not to keep Walker in large part because McKinley Wright IV, a defensive-minded guard on a two-way contract, has recently earned minutes in the rotation over him. Dallas also wants to keep a path to playing time open for rookie Jaden Hardy, a second-round pick who has averaged 28.8 points in the G League this season and scored 15 points in 15 minutes in Thursday's loss to the Boston Celtics.

Dallas will have an open roster spot and will consider candidates for 10-day contracts.

Walker spent the first six weeks of the season training on his own after being waived by the Detroit Pistons, who acquired him in a salary-dump offseason trade with the New York Knicks. Walker, who has dealt with significant knee problems since signing a maximum contract with the Celtics in the 2019 offseason, was also waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder in August 2021 after being acquired in a similarly financially motivated trade.