After many years of mediocre seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, Kemba Walker is still considering the Hornets as his free agency destination. Walker has spent his entire career with the Hornets and developed his talents there. He has evolved into one of the best point guards in the league. Walker is now 29 years old and getting better every season. He just earned his first All-NBA selection and was named as a member of the All-NBA Third Team. Walker averaged 25.6 points, 5.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds with a player efficiency rating of 21.72.
Top Landing Spots for Kemba Walker Heading Into Free Agency
Hornets Questioning Whether to Give Kemba Walker a Super Max Deal
Despite all of the accolades, the Hornets are not planning to offer Kemba the five-year supermax deal worth 221 million according to Shams Charania. Hornets’ owner Michael Jordan still believes in Kemba Walker and has a deep admiration for Walker’s loyalty.
Walker’s chance of staying is really high given his loyalty to the team. There’s also a lot of mutual interest from both sides. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Walker inked a deal with them anyway. The only hesitancy Walker has in re-signing with the Hornets is they have yet to build a winning team around him. The Hornets roster has shown it’s not enough to help him and the Charlotte Hornets contend.
Charlotte’s Problematic Contracts
Given the situation of their roster, there are a lot of bad contracts currently on the payroll. Contracts like Bismack Biyombo and Cody Zeller currently have. Biyombo is set to make 17 million next season while Zeller will make 14.4 million. Even Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams‘ contracts are a problem. MKG will earn 13 million next season while Williams will make 15 million. And the worst contract is Nicolas Batum‘s 5-year 120 million dollar deal that will end in 2021. His contract might be impossible to move so they have to endure it until it expires. The Hornets really did a poor job in signing those players, players that are not worth their contracts.
Now, Charlotte should move some huge contract players and try to surround Kemba Walker with the right pieces. In short, build around Walker or else they might end up getting nothing and be stuck with those problematic contracts. There are a handful of teams that are showing interest in the services of the All-NBA guard. The Hornets should go all in if they don’t want to lose him. Surround him with better talent and offer him the max that he deserves.
Kemba Walker is the type of player that could help a contender win a championship and we really need to see him play for a contender where his talent will not be wasted because he’s better off playing somewhere else. Now, let’s take a look at the top landing spots for Kemba Walker if he leaves Charlotte.
The Phoenix Suns lack of a point guard for several years now can be solved if they convinced Kemba Walker to sign with them. There’s a lot of potential on the Suns‘ roster and the change in the head coach position seems to have a lot of improvement from last season where they finished as the worst team in the league. Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are great building blocks, but they need to add more pieces.
The Suns have a nice young core in Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Josh Jackson, and Mikal Bridges. They also have some good role players like T.J. Warren. They also hold the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. With the assets that they currently have and a lot of cap space available, they have a strong case in convincing Kemba Walker to sign with them. And if Walker accepted the deal and brought the Suns back to the playoffs, he would surely leave a mark in the history of the game.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the best landing spots for Kemba Walker. This will be one of the biggest and most crucial offseasons for them as they try to sign a top tier free agent to help LeBron James bring the Lakers back to the playoffs. The Lakers’ priority is to sign Kyrie Irving, but it’ s unlikely to happen as Irving has shown serious interest in joining the Brooklyn Nets. The Lakers will also try to sign Jimmy Butler or Kawhi Leonard. They are aiming to upgrade their point guard position and if they failed to get Irving, they should strongly consider Kemba Walker.
Walker is a better fit for James than Lonzo Ball who, like James, is a playmaker and not much of a shooter. We saw James play alongside Irving and it was incredible. James, playing alongside Walker has the potential to be just as potent of a duo. The Lakers might also be planning to include Lonzo Ball in a trade package that nets them Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans so they have to find a new starting guard. Kemba Walker deserves to be in the spotlight and play for a big market franchise and the Lakers are the perfect place for him.
After trading Dennis Smith Jr. to the New York Knicks, the Dallas Mavericks need to find a replacement at the starting point guard spot and Kemba Walker should be their top priority. With Luka Doncic emerging as a young superstar and Kristaps Porzingis set to play next season, there’s a lot of promise in this team, especially if they successfully land Walker. Having those three together can instantly improve upon what they did last season This big three with coach Rick Carlisle’s system would be very dangerous offensively. They also have fine role players but they are lacking at the center spot. According to rumors, Dallas’ first priority is Orlando Magic’s all-star center, Nikola Vucevic but Kemba Walker might be a better priority for them. Porzingis can play the 5-spot while Dwight Powell is at the power forward position or vice-versa.
New York Knicks
And lastly, aside from the Lakers, the New York Knicks are also one of the best destinations for Kemba Walker. The Knicks are in full rebuild mode and they have two max contract slots to fill. Rumors are circulating around the league that Kevin Durant will head to New York and they will try to convince Kyrie Irving to join him there. But like the Lakers, there’s also doubt that Irving will sign with the Knicks because of his interest in Brooklyn.
Nonetheless, the Knicks should decide now and strongly consider Kemba Walker as their secondary free agency target, to Durant. Joining the Knicks would be a change for Kemba Walker as they are a big market team who are hungry for a championship.
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