January 6, 2012 by staff
Antoine Walker, Antoine Devon Walker (born August 12, 1976, in Chicago, Illinois) is an American professional basketball forward with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League. He was drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky and played in the NBA from 1996 to 2008.
Walker attended Mount Carmel High School, where he played with future NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb and attained all-state status as a senior, earning a full scholarship to play for Rick Pitino at the University of Kentucky. He was a starting forward on the Wildcats’ 1996 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship-winning team. As a freshman at Kentucky he was named SEC Tournament MVP. In his sophomore year, Walker was named All-SEC First, All-SEC Tournament and to the All-NCAA Regional Teams.
After his sophomore season he declared for the 1996 NBA Draft and was picked sixth overall by the Boston Celtics. In the 1996-1997 season, Walker made the All-Rookie 1st Team and led the team in scoring (17.5 ppg) and rebounds (9.0). However, the team had its worst season in franchise history, 15-67. The following season, Walker made the All-Star team as a reserve while averaging 22.4 ppg and 10.2 rpg. He also scored a career-high 49 points in a loss against the Washington Wizards. The Celtics posted another bad record: 36-46. In the ’98 draft, the Celtics had the 10th pick and chose swing man Paul Pierce. The next few years, Pierce and Walker were the 1-2 punch for the Celtics. In the 2001-2002 season, Walker had his best overall season by helping lead the Celtics to a 49-33 record and their first playoff berth in 7 years. He was second in his team in scoring (22.0 ppg), first in rebounds (9 rpg), and 1st in assists, (5.0 apg). Pierce and Walker took the team all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals where they fell to the New Jersey Nets in 6 games. The next season, Walker made his 3rd All-Star team.
Nine and a half days before the start of the 2003-04 season, Walker was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. Walker was used in a relatively limited capacity on his new team due to the number of high-caliber players populating the Mavericks’ roster. Included on that team was Antawn Jamison, newly acquired from the Golden State Warriors. On August 8, 2004 Walker and Tony Delk were traded to the Atlanta Hawks for Jason Terry, longtime Hawks member Alan Henderson and a draft pick. On February 24, 2005, Walker was traded back to the Celtics in a deal that sent Gary Payton, Tom Gugliotta, Michael Stewart, and a first-round draft pick to the Hawks (Payton was released by the Hawks and re-signed with Boston for the remainder of the season).
On August 2, 2005, Walker was involved in a 5-team, 13-player deal (the largest trade in NBA history) that sent him from the Celtics to the Miami Heat. Walker would play as a reserve, often rotating between the power forward and small forward positions. Though he struggled early to adjust to this role, by the end of the season he was a crucial versatile force for the Heat. In the playoffs his production would increase, as he would be the third leading scorer for the team while making crucial 3 point baskets against the New Jersey Nets and the Detroit Pistons. On June 20, 2006, he won his first NBA Championship, contributing 14 points and 11 rebounds in the final game of the series against the Dallas Mavericks
On October 24, 2007, Walker was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves along with Michael Doleac, Wayne Simien, a first-round draft pick and cash considerations in exchange for Ricky Davis and Mark Blount.
On June 27, 2008, Walker was dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies along with Marko Jari?‡, Greg Buckner, and the rights to O. J. Mayo, for Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins, and the rights to Kevin Love.
After appearing in just two preseason games and remaining inactive throughout the opening months of the regular season, he was waived by the Grizzlies on December 19, 2008.
In February 2010, he signed with the Guaynabo Mets along with former Chicago Bulls player Marcus Fizer. Walker was released on April 1, 2010.
On May 6, 2010, ESPN reported that Walker was trying to return to the NBA.
On December 7, 2010, Walker was acquired by Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League.
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