Kemba Walker soon might reckon with a major change in his basketball career.
The Charlotte Hornets have put their All-Star point guard on the market ahead of the NBA trade deadline, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday, citing NBA sources. Charlotte is ready to rebuild and is willing to include Walker in a trade, in which it would receive a first-round draft pick or a good young player in return.
Having spent his entire seven-year career in Charlotte, Walker sits second on the franchise’s all-time scoring- and assist- leader lists. He is averaging 21.7 points and 5.8 assists per game this season.
Walker’s team-friendly contract pays him $12 million per season and expires after 2018-19, likely making him an attractive trade target for interested teams.
Walker, 27, told reporters Friday any trade from Charlotte would hit him hard.
“Of course,” Walker said, per ESPN. “I’ve never been in that situation. I don’t know what it feels like. … I’d be pretty upset, but like i said, I’m here and now and I’ve put my heart and soul into this team and into this city, so that’s what I’m going to do till everything’s over,” said Walker, who is building a new home in the area.
“This is where I got my opportunity. I’m seven years in now. I do a lot with community, of course. I’ve got to know a lot of the fans. … Of course I’m going to be tied to this place. It’s kind of where I’ve grown up. It’s definitely home.”
The 18-25 Hornets also are willing to trade Nicolas Batum, Dwight Howard, Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Wojnarowski reported, citing NBA sources. Those four players are on burdensome contracts, and the Hornets might have to part ways with Walker to in order to move one or more of them off their roster.