New York Knicks point guard Kemba Walker is one of the veteran players who are expected to change teams in the 2022 NBA offseason. The rumors surrounding Walker's future with the Knicks started when Coach Tom Thibodeau decided to remove him from their official rotation in the first half of the 2021-22 NBA season. After bringing him back for a few games, Thibodeau shut him down once again for the remainder of the season, making his departure from New York a huge possibility this summer.
Kemba Walker To Charlotte Hornets
One of the most intriguing landing spots for Walker in the 2022 NBA offseason is the Charlotte Hornets. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Hornets may consider a reunion with Walker if he and the Knicks decide to part ways this summer.
According to an NBA source, Walker has been training in Charlotte, N.C., his former home, and New York, shuttling back and forth. Walker’s mother still lives in the 'Queen City,’ and the Hornets could be a future destination as he played there eight seasons. The Knicks visit Charlotte on Wednesday. The likeliest scenario is the Knicks trading Walker’s expiring contract in a deal on draft night in late June. No buyout talks have taken place.
Returning To Where He Started
Walker would definitely love the idea of being traded to the Hornets this summer. The Hornets were the team that selected him as the No. 9 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and turned him into an All-Star caliber talent in the league. Walker spent eight years in Charlotte and was considered the face of the Hornets franchise. Despite how things ended between them in the summer of 2019, there's no bad blood existing between Walker and the Hornets.
Backup For LaMelo Ball
However, though they are rumored to be interested in bringing him back to Charlotte, it is less likely that the Hornets would give Walker back his former role. Plenty of things have changed in Charlotte since Walker left the Hornets in the 2019 NBA free agency. The Hornets already have a new face of the franchise in LaMelo Ball, and he plays the same position as Walker. If the Hornets push through with their reunion, Walker would have to accept the role as the primary backup for Ball next season.
Trading Kemba Walker To Hornets Makes Sense For Knicks
Sending Walker back to the Hornets this summer would make a lot of sense for the Knicks, especially now that it's crystal clear that he's a bad fit with Coach Tom Thibodeau's system. The departure of Walker would allow the Knicks to give more playing time to young guards such as Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes. If they could trade him to the Hornets without getting another salary in return, the Knicks could use the salary cap space that they would create to chase quality players in the 2022 NBA free agency.