Right around this time last year, trade rumors started swirling about Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker. According to reports, the team was willing to move their All-Star point guard, perhaps as a way to shed one of their other bulky contracts. Nothing happened, of course, but the Hornets are still stuck in a similar position.
They’re an average team with one very good player who might be able to lead them to the playoffs. But that’s not a guarantee, and even if they get there, they really have no chance of making a deep run. But this time around, they’ve changed their tune on trade talks involving Walker. According to a report from Shams Charania, despite other teams’ attempts to engage Charlotte in negotiations, Hornets owner Michael Jordan has made it clear that Walker won’t be going anywhere. Via The Athletic:
Similarly, the Charlotte Hornets are competing for a playoff berth, have Kemba Walker as the face of their franchise and are posited to have Walker representing the organization when the city hosts All-Star Weekend. Even last summer, several teams approached the Hornets on Walker, but were informed that he is off the table. Hornets owner Michael Jordan has a desire to re-sign Walker and keep the two-time All-Star in Charlotte, sources said.
Nevertheless, teams have still tested the Hornets. In recent weeks, the Dallas Mavericks had interest in Walker and inquired on him, but the Hornets stated they were keeping Walker and wanted him to remain a Hornet, league sources told The Athletic.
Still only 28, and putting together the best season of his career, it’s obvious why other teams are calling up the Hornets to gauge Walker’s availability. At the same time, the Hornets’ — or at least Jordan’s — reluctance to move him makes sense.
Walker is already a Hornets legend at this point, and one of the team’s main attractions, he’ll be back in action on Wednesday night when the Hornets face off against the Grizzlies (8 p.m. ET — Watch on FuboTV with the NBA League Pass add-on). The team is also a business, and trading him ahead of the All-Star Game in Charlotte would be a pretty bad look. Plus, they have to consider how moving Walker would affect the team moving forward.
Given their roster construction, they’re kind of stuck right now. It’s hard for them to get much better, but it’s also hard for them to completely blow it up and start over. Even if they dealt Walker and were able to unload one of their bad contracts in the process, there’s still enough solid pieces that they probably wouldn’t bottom out.
And at that point, it makes sense why as an owner you’d rather keep your best player and fight for a playoff spot. Even if everyone knows they aren’t contenders, that’s more exciting than being both uninteresting and not bad enough to get a top pick.
Courtesy: CBS Sports