Kemba Walker has been the subject of many NBA trade rumors over the last year or so, likely for two reasons.
One is the fact his Charlotte Hornets team is not close to contending for an Eastern Conference title, much less an NBA championship.
The other is his contract situation: Walker is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, an offseason when many teams are expected to have a lot of salary cap space.
But the UConn product threw cold water on the rumor mill in a recent interview with Michael Scott of The Athletic. Fans of his hometown New York Knicks won’t be pleased.
“As far as seeing me in New York, I doubt it,” Walker told Scotto. “I’m a Hornet, and I’m planning on being a Hornet for a long time, so, yeah, I’m not sure about that (New York).”
Things can change, obviously, but the Hornets can offer Walker more money and more term (five years instead of four) than any other NBA team. Walker will have to decide what’s more important to him, money or winning.
The Hornets have qualified for the playoffs just twice in Walker’s seven-year career, and they have yet to advance past the first round with him.
Walker averaged 22.1 points, 5.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game last season. It was his third straight season averaging more than 20 points. Walker also has been durable over that same span, with just six games missed.
The Hornets would be wise to re-sign Walker and build around him. He’s been one of the franchise’s few successes in the NBA draft, and Charlotte cannot afford to let him walk in free agency without getting anything in return.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images
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