Kemba Walker’s market is emerging, and that’s bad news for the Charlotte Hornets.
Despite the guard’s recent comments that he’d take less than the supermax to return to the only NBA franchise he’s known, talks between Walker and the Hornets have reached a “stalemate,” according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. In fact, Charania also noted Thursday in a tweet that there currently is a “sizable” gap between the two sides.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski went even further, saying the Boston Celtics have emerged as the “front-runner” to sign the veteran point guard.
Additionally, as Charania noted, the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks also linger as competitors to sign the 29-year-old.
The Celtics have a very clear need for Walker. It’s all but certain Kyrie Irving signs elsewhere (likely the Brooklyn Nets, per reports), and Al Horford’s decision to hit free agency doesn’t inspire much confidence he’ll return, either. Their departures, however, helped clear up some cap space that theoretically could be used to sign Walker when the league year opens Sunday night.
It’s no fault to Walker for any choice he ends up making. Returning to Charlotte could earn him the most money, and he clearly has an attachment to the franchise after eight seasons with the Bobcats/Hornets. Going to Dallas would allow him to form an impressive “big three” with Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic. The Knicks make sense, as Walker is a Bronx native who went to UConn and crafted some of the biggest moments of his basketball career in Madison Square Garden.
But the Celtics are a great landing spot, too. Walker instantly would become one of the faces of an iconic NBA franchise, and given how the Irving era ended in Boston, fans likely will fall over themselves to welcome the guard back to New England with open arms. Walker would also give head coach Brad Stevens some intriguing options and probably would be a better fit within the Celtics’ young core than Irving was.