Behind Kyrie Irving, Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker figures to be atop the free-agent market at his position this offseason.
But the three-time all-star says the Hornets currently are his top priority.
Walker is eligible to receive a five-year supermax contract from the Hornets, which would be valued at $221 million. Walker can receive up to $190 million for a five-year deal on the open market. But it appears money doesn’t seem to top the point guard’s list, saying he would take less than a supermax contract to stay in Charlotte.
“Yeah, why not? I would take less, for sure,” Walker said Thursday via ESPN.
Walker, 29, also said that he’s “pretty sure” he will talk to other teams, but Charlotte remains his No. 1 interest.
“That all factors in [to my decision] when I sit down with the teams and hear what guys have to say,” Walker said. “I think that will all come into play. I’m not really sure right now. Like I said, Charlotte is my first priority and I have to see what [the Hornets] have to offer, as well as other teams.”
Charlotte’s cap situation isn’t exactly ideal for bringing Walker back at a lofty price, especially if it hopes to add pieces around him to make themselves a contender in an increasingly competitive Eastern Conference. The Hornets won’t have major cap space until 2021, unless they manage to unload salaries in the near future.
There are several suitors for Walker should he decide to leave Charlotte behind for a larger market like the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks or Dallas Mavericks, but Walker remains interested in staying with the team that drafted him.
“This is where I want to be,” Walker said of Charlotte, “and if it doesn’t work out, it just doesn’t. I’m prepared.”